Thou Shall not Covet: Why We Always Want Something More.

Gift box

Have you noticed that hollow feeling that creeps in casting a shadow when you are trying to be happy for someone’s promotion, new venture, new purchase, new…just about anything. The niggling feeling that slithers into your heart soiling your happiness for someone or even for yourself throttling out the good feelings you had started having about something but can’t seem to sustain because you find yourself in a state of wanting.

While in the  feeling of wanting, the  little voice in your head starts a little commentary saying things like, “I wish I had a car like that…. a house like that one….Gosh why didn’t I get promoted too.” And if indulged,  the  little voice gets louder and you find yourself in the suboptimal condition of feeling unsatisfied.

It’s because we can’t help who we are. We are always in a state of wanting. It’s why after you achieve that dream job, dream house, dream car or dream wedding; you suddenly find yourself with a new list of wants. As soon as our needs are met we have the instinct and the inherent desire to keep going on with achieving something else.

The feeling of always wanting is a form of our ego that unless recognized continues to grow. In time, this feeling of dissatisfaction can take over your life leaving you always in a state of unquenchable wanting. In order to overcome the desire of more…things or accolades… one needs to:

1. Recognize the feeling of wanting when it begins to rear its head. It is important not to judge (you are neither right nor wrong for wanting)  yourself should you find that you are not completely happy about a situation. Just recognized it. By the simple act of seeing it for what it is, leaves you no choice but to do something about it.

2. Practice the three tenets of wanting:

  • Compassion and Kindness– Practice wishing others well without inserting yourself in the commentary going on in your head. Understand that your feeling of being happy for others is temporary as are all other feelings. So when it is there, immerse yourself in the act or words of expressing compassion and kindness for others. It is important to also do the same for yourself. Be truly happy about whatever situation you are in and resist the urge to insert a contrary thought that will bring the feeling of compassion and kindness to an early end.
  • Renunciation– You do not need to have everything. Having the dream job, dream car, dream wedding, or dream (insert here) will not make you any happier than you probably already are. Sure there are situations where having more will certainly make life easier which is what keeps us going but the simple act of renunciation will then lead to the act of being grateful for what we already have. Be grateful everyday for something you already have. In doing so the emotion of always wanting is diminished even as you continue to accomplish and acquire more things in your life.
  • Ignorance-When caught up in the emotion of wanting, it is often quite common that there is an underlying reason why you attach so much importance to wanting the things you feel you want. Try to look within yourself to see what about yourself makes you want those things? Did you not few toys as a child and hence the constant need to acquire things? Is it your need for attention that causes you not to be truly happy for others when they receive praise or promotions?

Perhaps it’s because of always wanting more that humans first started having elaborate ceremonies of giving. Cultures across the world have moments where people congregate to give. While in these acts of giving, we experience a feeling of joy something that we ought to practice so we can be happier. Whatever the case, the  emotion of always wanting something doesn’t totally go away. But with practice and looking inward to understand its origins, you might have the chance to learn more about yourself and others which hopefully might lead to a happier you.

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