3 Things Interfering with Feeling Grateful and Content
–By Aisha Abbasi M.D.-
Many people wonder what interferes with our ability to feel grateful and content. I’ve been working with patients since I started clinical rotations during my medical school days. That’s over 30 years now. As a Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, listening to patients in multiple therapy hours, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, I’ve been struck by the difference between patients. Some patients feel very unhappy as they compare their lives to those of others (including mine) and feel they have very little. Other patients, some of whom have suffered many losses, are able to feel grateful for what they do have and are quite content with their lives.
In trying to understand the differences between these two styles of feeling and functioning, I have arrived at a few ideas that I hope will help my readers:
1) Happiness Isn’t Rationed – Life is not like a pie or pizza that will yield only a certain number of pieces. If we don’t understand and believe this, we are liable to feel very unhappy with our lives when we hear of something good happening to another person. We might feel falsely convinced there is a limited supply of good stuff, or that we will get less if somebody else gets more or has more.
2) Envy Blocks Contentment –To feel envious of others is a very important aspect of being human. Envy starts when we are very young and stays with us as we grow up. Envy gets in the way of contentment if is not acknowledged and worked out in our minds. When strongly envious feelings can be understood, a pathway is opened up for envy to not paralyze us; instead, we are able to move toward acknowledging and admiring the accomplishments of others. We may also feel inspired to achieve more, if that is our goal.
3) Money Doesn’t Guarantee Joy – It is very important to remember we need very little in life to be truly happy. Throwing material goods (such as fancy cars, expensive homes, designer clothes, or glitzy handbags) at our discontent and unhappiness does not result in real joy. As a wise person said, “If money could make one really happy, rich people would be dancing merrily in the streets.” Instead, most often, the poor do that.
Wishing you all genuine contentment and the ability to feel grateful for all you do have in your life.
Check our blog in the coming weeks for more tips and helpful articles. At Tampa Bay Center for Psychological Health, our goal is to offer a safe, confidential, and trustworthy treatment setting for all patients. For more information, or to request your free 20-minute initial phone consultation, please call Dr. Abbasi at 813-492-9241.