Today we are in a new mindframe. Everything that we do comes with some sort of immediate gratification. Take, for instance, this blog. It might have taken you up to 10 seconds to load the page, and if it took that long you were probably upset with your phone or your computer for going so slowly. We now live in a world in which if we want it we do not have to to wait. We get it instantly. Credit approved! Come on down! No down payment! $2000 CASH BACK! Come and get what your heart desires!
In this instant gratification Westernized civilization we should be some of the happiest people in the world, right? WRONG! Research shows that we are not…not even close. We emphasize raising self-esteem here in America. Like everything will be okay the more you focus on yourself. If you get yourself right then you will be okay. I am challenging that argument. In a time in which when something is broken we can just go back to Wal-Mart and get a new one I say that it is time to create self-sufficiency and neighborly concern rather than self-love. Don’t get me wrong…we still need to love ourselves. However, we don’t get self-love from focusing on our weight, our cars, our shoes, our brand name clothing. We get it from doing things for other people.
It’s sad, isn’t it? We get into relationships, and then something happens that we don’t like, so BOOM! We are gone! I don’t like that…you can’t change, I’m out of here. I deserve better. I deserve more. Disney told me that I would have a Prince Charming who rides up on his white stallion and carries me away from all of the ugliness in life. What they didn’t tell me was that Prince Charming gets a beer belly later, farts in his sleep, and never brings home flowers after the wedding is over. What they didn’t tell him was that after Cinderella has kids, she also has stretch marks and is constantly tired from working two jobs and making sure everyone at home eats dinner.
Self-love and happiness does not come from STUFF. Seriously. I get it, it’s easier to cry in a BMW than in a cardboard box. But in that BMW you have a hell of a lot more responsibility than you do in a cardboard box. That’s what nobody tells you as a kid. Once you start getting all this money and all of this stuff, you are forever chasing it to keep up with the newer stuff. You have a BMW, but maybe now you need a Porsche. Because your new neighbor has one. You want to keep up. You have a house, but all of a sudden it feels small. Cramped. Ugly. We need something bigger!! We should buy a new house!! Then we will be happier as a family.
Alas, you get that new house and you realize that although you thought it made you happy initially there are even more responsibilities. The electric bill is higher. The lawn takes more water. There is waaaaaaay more cleaning to do. So you hire a cleaner, and a landscaper, and you work more hours. Take on more stress. Lose that extra time with your family. You start to feel disconnected with your spouse. You bond more closely with the people you work with. Emotional ties now lead to you questioning whether or not you are happy in your current relationship.
You see where this is going? It’s a slippery slope people! I mean, look in the media! Now we have kids who can kill people because they say that they have too much stuff, so that makes it ok!! Affluenza???? Really?
You want happiness? Let go of the stuff. Focus on your spirituality to remind yourself that it is not all about you. There’s a bigger picture here. Focus on your family. They love you…they want to be a part of your life. Focus on your friendships…the good ones. The ones that support your relationship at home and support your goals and achievements. Focus on helping the less fortunate so that you can remember how fortunate you really are. Your happiness does not lie within yourself helping yourself. It’s about others.
In the Bible there are so many quotes about helping others…this is powerful!! Your happiness truly is in where you find your purpose, and trust me, your purpose is not in getting a cooler wardrobe.
Matthew 25:35-40 – Words of Jesus Christ
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Luke 6:38 – Rewards for Giving
“Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Galatians 6:2 – Help with Burdens of others
Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.