I know this concept so so well and yet, I fall into the trap often. The pattern goes like this - I get something new (or at least new to me) - an outfit, a car, a phone, a house, a job..... and the list goes on. And, at first this 'new' item feels exhilarating and abundant to me. I feel proud of this new item - what it means and the status I think it brings. Mostly, I feel grateful for the privilege of having this 'new' thing. I think I secretly look forward to using or wearing this item in hopes of getting some accolades and showing it off. This lasts for a little while - sometimes a few weeks, sometimes a couple months..... and sometimes only a mere week or so. Then an unfortunate shift happens; I begin to notice what others are doing or what they have and very swiftly begin to minimize the magnificence of what I have. All of a sudden the car I have that I loved when purchased becomes insignificant or mediocre at best. The house that was once amazing and truly perfect becomes O.K. when compared to the Joneses down the street whose house has more bells and whistles or a better view. I remember when I was single and I used to have moments (sometimes weeks or even months) where I was completely content with my life as a single woman. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, with unlimited options of activities. Then as if to poke my head out of my 'bubble' I would see others who were gleefully dating, married or on the brink of having children and I would immediately feel inadequate and panicked. I would feel my body rush with anxiety and urgency - as if I needed to 'make' something happen NOW. How quickly I would lose sight of what was great about my life as it was (or is!). I would shift from trusting the 'process' to feeling like I'd better take charge and enforce change more rapidly than was happening.
Ironically, when I do acquire that thing I thought I needed it NEVER fills that insatiable need for more .... obviously. My husband recently asked me if I needed more 'toys' because I was having an insecure moment. I quickly responded "no". I know without a doubt that my insecurity or feelings of inadequacy cannot be changed with money or items. It's a spiritual void and a lack of gratitude. I once heard someone say, "if you're not happy on the bus, what makes you think you'll be happy in the limo?" How true. Happiness and contentment starts NOW. The rest is gravy.
What I know is that my fulfillment NEVER comes from material things ..... no car, house, outfit or diamond could even begin to compete with my relationship with my husband, my perfect little boy (of course, I'm bias) and friends and family who I cherish deeply. Not to mention and probably MOST important my growing spiritual life ...... there cannot ever be a price tag associated to feeling connected. It cannot be bought, ever.
I once heard that if I was going to compare to others and covet what they have, that I needed to want all of their life. The WHOLE package - not just bits and pieces. When I put things in this perspective - I choose my life. I choose what I've been given ..... I have all that REALLY matters and SO SO much more. There will always be others with more money, a bigger house, a flatter stomach AND there will always be those who have no money, are living in their cars and have very little to eat. Bottom line - appreciate what I have. It's amazing and perfectly enough.
A grateful attitude = gratitude. :)