Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
We all know the story. It is the story of Snow White, a beautiful young girl who was the fairest in the kingdom. It is the story of an evil Queen who wanted to be the most beautiful maid in the land. In the process of trying to capture what she is denied, the evil Queen brings about her own destruction.
For me, it is a story of the stark difference between gratitude and ingratitude. It is a lesson in learning to love what and who you are versus feeling jealous and angry because you do not have everything you want. Although Snow White is not my favorite of the princess stories, I do think there is a lesson there for us all to learn.
Who is the fairest…?
If you truly want to be miserable, here is one small thing that will get you there every time:
Focus on what you do not have.
I would bet we have each been there at some point. We have each been the Queen in the story. I know I have.
It is easy to see what we don’t have. We normalize the things we have been given pretty quickly. It happens after you fall in love. It happens after you buy something new. You get used to it. Suddenly, it doesn’t have the same “pop” of excitement as before. So, then, our natural tendency is to start to look at new things, exciting things, things you do not have. Suddenly, you notice your neighbor’s new furniture. Your friend has a new hairstyle. Your sister-in-law always has new clothes. You want those things. You need those things.
When we focus on these things, we prevent ourselves from enjoying the moment, from enjoying the beauty of what we do have.
When we focus on what we do not have we become:
unhappy, less social, insecure, competitive, envious, materialistic, pessimistic and self-centered.
When you focus on what you do not have, you are more likely to have:
more superficial relationships, lower self-esteem, lower resilience, and less spiritual connection
In my work, I see all the time this tendency. When we focus on what we do not have, we become consumed with pity, sadness, and jealousy. We are overwhelmed with it. It colors our thinking and prevents us from enjoying all that we do have.
There is deep meaning and great joy in gratitude.
Focus on those things that you do have. Make a list. Write it down.
Here are a few things I am grateful for:
I will write another post on the benefits of gratitude soon. If you are curious right now, here is a great article on the benefits of gratitude.
So, until then, instead of thinking about what you do not have, think about this:
Be grateful. Be beautiful. Create happiness.