Be grateful for what you have…
..but keep dreaming/working for better.
Last month, I talked about showing/expressing gratitude for what we have and not longing for what we don’t… (Be grateful for what you have… not longing for what you don’t)
This is the common saying and this is in response to what some people express at time: “oh, this is it? Anything else? I don’t like this”… The point is to receive what comes our way with thanks. If you get a Samsung smartphone, be grateful that you got a smartphone, do not complain that you wanted an iPhone… (note: no commercial message here… only based on something I have heard more than once… I don’t have either!)
But don’t get me wrong. Being grateful does not mean that you must sit and don’t wish for more/better. You can be grateful for small, yet dream for bigger/better. How you go about this longing is what makes the difference.
Yet, if you are just grateful, you can become complacent. You can remain in a static way and don’t take action to reach a goal. Longing for something in the sense of dreaming for better (instead of expecting better) can fuel you to find solutions to advance towards what you want.
When I had the accident I was first upset that my dream was finished before even starting. My car/house was broken, all was done. But then I was grateful to still be here, and able to work on getting back on the road. This longing to do what I had set-off for drove me to work harder and find ways to attain my goal.
But you need to channel the longing. Take action. One step at the time. While you need to be grateful, if you want more, ask yourself “how can I make it happen?”. Don’t just expect more but do something to show that you are motivated to work toward something. It is likely to come your way, even if alone you can’t do it. Whatever age and whatever means you have.
The kids on the picture might not have much – they enjoy a good fire and “acting” for pictures. It did not take much to give them this. They actually made the fire, I only provided the place. They were grateful for that evening, but that does not mean that they can’t be longing for more in life. They want to read, have stories by that fire. Books are limited, they have no means to buy more. But they can show their willingness to have books by learning how to take care of the ones they have and by making efforts at school to learn how to read. Books will come. If they just want for the sake of receiving more, why would they receive those books?
Learning to channel longing is difficult – it asks for a shift from “just” being greedy to taking action towards what you want to achieve/have. What is your longing? What do you do about it?