Sometimes life lends us a hand in getting things into perspective. We can all get worked up about things that seem terribly important, though probably aren’t.Then other things can happen that can help us put things into a better perspective – sadly often by making us realise we often take for granted the things that are really important. It’s not until those things come under threat that we appreciate how much they are valued.
But what an illogical way of living! To be taking for granted the things that have real value though we may not realise that until they are gone or threatened, and putting time, money and energy into things that maybe aren’t so important at all,
Why on earth do we do it? One reason is that many of us have grown up in cultures that are all about, acquiring more. More money, more time, more holiday, more clothes, more things, and in many ways our technological age has fuelled the desire for more! We also live in a society where bigger or more expensive is often seen as better.
“People spend too much time looking for more, instead of appreciating what they already have!”
In fact, this is so ingrained in many of us that if we hear of someone who isn’t looking for that next step, the bigger house the new job, the better holiday, or the next relationship, they may be accused of having no drive or ambition. But the only way it is possible to keep looking at ‘more’ is by taking for granted what we already have.
Think of a time when something fairly disastrous for you has occurred, maybe illness, or an accident for example, suddenly priorities change and all we want is to be well again or recover, physically or emotionally because one of the things we had taken for granted was suddenly under threat.
But it is a shame if we spend a lot of time and effort, perhaps missing out on things along the way, pursuing things that in the end we don’t think are that important, but it’s something we can all be drawn into unless we are careful. The way to avoid it is to be very clear about your own personal priorities and what, it is that you really value about your life.
Some of these will be different for each of us but there are probably also a lot of similarities.
Most people would say they value health and wellbeing and friends and family. Many of us may say it but then do things that actually don’t support that. For example, not taking care of ourselves or not spending time with those we say are important to us.
So, the first step is to define what is really important for you. One way to think about it, is to think what would really impact your life it is was to disappear. That’s the way to begin appreciating what you already have and not taking it for granted.
When you identify what is really important for you then appreciate and be grateful for it, it is easier to avoid taking it for granted. I remember once being stuck in an airport – it was only one night but it certainly made me appreciate a comfortable bed. Many of us are lucky enough to have our basic needs for shelter, sustenance and safety very well met on a daily basis yet we may never spend a second being grateful for these things.
So, if you decide that health is important to you then it’s hard to justify doing things that harm health. If you decide time with a partner, or your children, is important then committing to lots of other things simply isn’t rational. In fact, it is hypocritical if we are saying one thing then carrying on doing something else.
Sometimes being authentic is hard because we get drawn into other things, almost without thinking. It can be simple things that have a knock-on effect like drifting into hours of TV not doing other things which means time for things we decided were important gets squeezed out.
In some ways the first few steps are easy, decide what is important, be grateful for what you have, even the things we’d often take for granted and then be authentic by ensuring that the daily choices you make reflect the intentions you have. That’s where it gets tough. We make thousands of choices every day, someone asks us to go for a drink after work and we agree almost without thinking, there is nothing wrong with that unless you’ve previously decided to study/go for a run/attend an art class or volunteer at a youth group. If that’s the case then it isn’t wrong, and feeling guilty doesn’t really achieve anything, but by recognising that we actively make choices and by taking time to consider each choice, which can be as simple as thinking for a moment before we make a decision, considering how it fits in with what we have determined is important, we can quite literally change our lives.
Get more helpful insights from the website www.attunededucation.com and check out our self help book Make it Magnificent available from Amazon.