I have come to believe that life is full of paradoxes. Webster’s Dictionary defines a paradox as “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.” An example might be a farmer who plants a kernel of corn in the ground and the seed dies. Yet, that same seed germinates and brings forth life. An entire stalk of corn with several ears of corn can grow from one kernel that is planted. Another illustration might be found in the statement, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” There is something about giving to others that opens up their hearts to want to give back to you.
This week, we will look at a paradox that relates to all of us. Most of us want to have “things” in life. We go through life acquiring houses, mates, children, cars, savings, new relatives or in-laws, investments, and other things. We are like pack rats acquiring more and more “things” in our lives. But it is not those “things” that bring us fulfillment. We are blessed when we have a sense of contentment in our current set of circumstances.
I have seen in my own life that when I focus on what I do not have rather than on what I do have, I feel frustrated and empty. When I begin to be grateful for and focused on what is already in my life and learn to love and appreciate the blessings that are already mine, well, that is when I find a sense of enjoyment.
Pursuing attainable dreams is motivating and exciting. Even though they require a plan of action and a lot of hard work, they are positive influences in our lives. We should desire to do better, achieve higher goals, and create better circumstances for ourselves when and where we can. Nevertheless, obsessing over an unreachable goal (I want to be 18 again), especially when we are not able to achieve any forward movement toward it, makes us miserable. Focusing on illusive desires brings discontent. In addition, I know people who are constantly achieving one goal after another but are still unable to find happiness and joy. Their goal seems to be to achieve another goal! I think it is because they fail to realize that ultimate fulfillment and joy comes not from having what you want, but in learning to want or embrace what you already have. Remember there is a big difference between complacency and contentment. No one should be complacent, but everyone should be content…another paradox!
Let me encourage you to take a few minutes to think about the circumstances and the people who are currently in your life. Learn to embrace them and receive them in a heartfelt, sincere manner. Someone once said that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Well, that may be true, but it still must be mowed. If all you do is wish, and hope, and dream about the things you do not have, you will never be able to enjoy the things that you already do have. Are you married? Then want your marriage! Are you single? Then want your singleness! Are you in a great job? Then want that job. Are you in a dead-end job? Then want that job with all your heart…for now. As my friend Charlie “Tremendous” Jones used to say, “If you can’t be happy where you are – you will never be happy where you ain’t!”
Take a closer look at the blessings that are already in your life, and I am sure it will brighten your day. I know from firsthand experience that the more I focus on wanting and embracing and receiving what I already have in my life, the better my life becomes. As I do that, I can then learn to embrace the good things that come my way as I seek to grow, learn, and achieve more in life.
I have decided not to let what is illusive to me (wishing I had not made a mistake) end up destroying my peace and happiness. I am not going to let those things keep me from being able to receive what I already have. I can always learn something from my past mistakes and do better next time! I am going to remember that a proper perspective on life brings balance and peace. I encourage you to do the same!
Tip: It is not having what you want that counts…it is wanting what you have!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm