Every single one of us knows what it feels like to want something. From the moment we take our first breath, we are able to loudly assert our desire for something that we want. We want food, we want comfort, we want sleep, we want to be held. For an infant, our wants are simple, but as we grow, we learn to want more. We want a particular toy, we want a certain snack, we want just the right pair of shoes. The older we get, the more elaborate and demanding our wants become. We want more money, we want designer clothing, we want the biggest house, we want the perfect spouse.
When we get something we want, it makes us feel good—for a while. Soon, though, you want something else. It’s easy to fall into the mindset of thinking that what you have is never enough and to equate what we want with our happiness. Single people say, “If only I were married, then I would be happy.” Married people say, “If only we had a baby, then we would be happy.” Employees say, “If only I made more money, then I would be happy.”
The problem isn’t WHAT you want…it’s the fact that your happiness is tied inexorably to the want. It becomes a vicious cycle of want – pleasure – disappointment – and want again. It’s a prison. But you can be set free. The key to unlocking the door to your dungeon of desire is already in your hand. You just have to use it.
Here are three things that will help set you free from your prison of want.
1. Instead of saying, “I want…” try saying, “I have…”
It may seem simplistic, and truly, it is. Next time you think of something you want—something that you think you need to be happy, stop and take an inventory of all the things you have. You may even want to make a list to help you see just how much you’ve been given.
2. Have an attitude of gratitude
All those things you just listed…start giving thanks for them. It’s hard to feel unhappy or needy when you are thankful.
3. Consider Others’ Wants
Look around you. Everywhere you turn, there are people who have less…who struggle more…who truly need, but they are happy. Is there something on your list that would bless or provide some measure of relief for someone else?
We are only imprisoned by want when we allow our happiness to rest on the stuff we can get—earthly treasures. Those things break, and fade away…they will never last, and will never make you happy. So, take the keys above and set yourself free from the Prison of Want and live a life of true happiness.