The holiday season is upon us again! Where does all the time go? I feel we only just ended the last one, but I’m grateful to be able to celebrate them again and reflect upon the lessons the holidays teach us. They remind us to live selflessly, to appreciate what we have, and avoid allowing greed and consumption to distract from what is really important; all are lessons we should apply to our lives year-round.
Keeping in mind the underlying themes behind our holiday and traditions, I wanted to briefly discuss greed, happiness, and finding fulfillment.
Every religion teaches this truth—fulfillment can never be obtained from external sources. It is our responsibility to fill the holes within us ourselves by defining our purpose, living with meaning and sharing love. Searching beyond those things often distracts us from finding and accepting what truly matters, causing us to look for happiness in all the wrong places.
While it is wonderful to have the opportunity to explore and enjoy the fruits of American prosperity and innovation, we must be cautious in pursuing and consuming temporary and external gratification because abundance puts us at risk. When we obtain too much, indulge too much, we tend to lose sight of all we have, which leads us to wanting more. Humility and gratitude then depletes, and we neglect to acknowledge the real source of where happiness comes from: within.
Our brains trick us into thinking we need to replicate those temporary warm and satisfied feelings we get when pursuing external pleasures, and the only way to do so is by consuming more of what originally provided the sensation. We start feeding a beast within us that only grows hungrier after every meal. The more we consume, the more we feel we need to achieve the same warm feelings—nothing will ever be enough though.
Alcohol is a good example. When I wasn’t a seasoned drinker, it took far fewer beverages to reach the desired effect. Now, it takes waaaayyyy more, and the sensation isn’t even close to being the same as it once was. Another example is when we make a big purchase. It feels good in the moment, and maybe for a little while afterwards, but it doesn’t take long until those initial feelings wear off. We usually revert to how we normally feel then move onto coveting the next thing shortly after the original purchase, assuming that if we obtain it, we’ll be happy. Many of us continue buying thinking we’ll feel the same, but it requires more and more each time and the sensation is never as intense.
If doing these things really made us happy, truly allowed us to obtain fulfillment, we would not feel we need or want anything else. True contentedness would be achieved, and we could die knowing we have everything.
But we never feel that way afterwards. If anything, we often feel worse but still do whatever it was that made us happy in the moment, confusing it with sustainable fulfillment and happiness.
This holiday season I ask you to take stock of what you have. Put into perspective all the blessings you’ve received in your life, and consider what it means to be fulfilled. Reach within yourself and determine, if you’re unhappy, what might be the cause. Are you seeking happiness from external sources? Does materialism, greed, addiction, etc. have their grips upon you? Find a way to let them go if they do. Understand that if you are not content with what you have, you will never be happy.
Nothing will ever be enough unless what you have, is.
Before You Go!
What are some of the lessons you hold dear during the holiday season? Where do you think fulfillment originates? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!
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