We all get that feeling of wanting more. More money, better relationships, a bigger house or car. The list goes on and on. But what if I told you there is a way to stop craving the next best thing?
The answer isn’t found in getting more stuff. The answer is found in learning to be content with what you already have.
Since this is easier said than done, let’s discuss what’s at the root of our constant need for more things, experiences, and social status.
The first thing to acknowledge is that we are trained to want more. We get it from our parents, teachers, and peers. It’s so ingrained in us that we don’t even realize we are doing it anymore!
A lot of us do not know how to appreciate what we have because our parents modeled constant cravings for better stuff or experiences throughout most of their lives.
They may have even neglected us in this process, making us feel like we were never enough. This propagates the cycle of needing validation by acquiring external things.
It’s helpful to acknowledge that your desires are not your fault so that you can release any shame or guilt you may have around them.
It’s also important to take responsibility for changing these patterns now that you have become conscious of what is going on.
Let’s dig in a bit deeper below and start to visualize ways that we can reverse this pattern and feel satisfied with what we presently have in life.
Is Wanting More a Bad Thing?
Not only is wanting more a good thing but it’s also imprinted in our DNA to keep us alive.
It’s what motivates you to get up every day and do something productive, even if it means sacrificing some of your comforts or pleasures in the process.
It also helps us to be better for others and contribute more to society and our loved ones. For example, if you want your child to have a better education than you did, you’re going to make decisions that help to get them there, even if it means stretching beyond your current beliefs and abilities.
It becomes an issue when your desire for more starts ruling over your life and creates stress, anxiety, unhealthy relationships (with people and things), self-doubt/hatred, and a lack of meaning.
Even worse, it creates an unhealthy attachment to money that leads us to greed and corruption. This is what we see in our leaders today, who are caught up with accumulating as much wealth as possible at the detriment of other people (and sometimes even themselves).
How do you know if what you are craving is healthy for your well-being? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- If I got this thing right now would my life be easier or better?
- Is this new thing that I want actually going to bring me happiness or will it be more of the same, just on steroids?
- Does what you are craving align with your core values and purpose in life?
- Will I feel guilty about this after I acquire it?
- Will I feel like less of a person if I don’t have it?
- Does this thing actually make my life better or am I projecting an image to others that makes me feel accepted?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then there is likely something else going on that’s causing your cravings. You can either address what needs attention first before buying an item impulsively.
The key to wanting things is to be content with what we have while simultaneously wanting more for ourselves and others. This means feeling satisfied by our relationships, careers, health status, etc., but still continuing to grow in these areas as well.
But there is a difference between wanting more out of life for yourself versus always needing external validation from others, including status symbols like cars, houses, brands, etc.
The important thing to remember is that you can’t be everything to everyone and it’s okay if people don’t accept or understand your choices. As long as you are acting in alignment with what will truly make you happy, then nothing else matters!
What Do Humans Desire Most?
As a species, we share certain universal desires that have served and evolved us for many years. They are still all very necessary and valuable for us modern-day beings. However, if we are lacking in one of these areas in life, we may overcompensate by wanting more from other areas in our life to try and fill a void.
We all want four things: safety, connection, freedom, and contribution.
We all want to feel safe and secure in our environment.
For some people, this means having a spouse or partner they can count on. For others, it means earning lots of money, so there is never a risk of losing their livelihood. Many people believe that their physical health and wellbeing will keep them safe.
It’s important for us to have a strong enough feeling of safety in our lives so that we can feel good enough to make good relationships with others, have creative thoughts, and grow in our work.
When we don’t feel safe, we are motivated by fear, which is the opposite of love. Fear makes us want more to try and keep up with our perceived threats in life instead of wanting things because we enjoy them or find value in them for their own sake.
Filling any gaps we have in our sense of safety can reduce our urge to always seek more in other areas of life.
Connection with others creates meaning and fulfillment in life.
For some people, this means having a strong sense of community and friendships they can turn to for support. For others, it means finding their romantic partner so they know who is there for them unconditionally, no matter what. There are even those that find professional or work relationships to be the most fulfilling and stimulating.
When we are in the right relationships with others, we have the confidence and bravery to achieve goals that are beyond our individual capacity. We are able to be vulnerable with others in a safe environment, which means we can freely explore our own thoughts and feelings without fear.
Our sense of connection is not dependent upon any one thing or person but comes from within us when all the parts are healthy enough to work together well.
When there are gaps in our relationships, it causes us to want more in other areas of our lives. For example, we might try and fill that hole with material things or experiences, which may not always be the best choice for us if we are craving authentic human connection.
Filling any gaps we have in our sense of connection can reduce our urge to always seek more from other sources such as money, fame, or power.
Freedom is having the right to make the decisions that are best for us.
For some people, this means earning enough money so that they have their own schedule and can take time off when they need to. For others, it might mean being able to express themselves authentically with minimal judgment from other people. Many of us believe true freedom is having the knowledge and power that we can take care of ourselves and those we love.
When we feel truly free to be who we are, make decisions for ourselves, and live our purpose, life feels like a gift rather than an obligation or responsibility. When these feelings exist within us, it is much easier to enjoy what life has to offer instead of constantly wanting more.
There are many ways in which people can feel oppressed and stripped of their freedom. Sometimes this happens on the societal level, where people are unable to vote or express themselves freely.
Other times it happens on the personal level, where we feel like our own desires and choices don’t matter because of our fear, guilt, shame, obligation, dependence, and lack of resources or support.
When we don’t feel that we are free to live the life we really want, it is easy to want more of something else instead.
Contribution is making a difference in the world by being who we are meant to be.
For some people, this means living up to their potential and doing what they can with their talents or gifts. For others, it might mean giving back through service work or other forms of activism. Some individuals find that raising a family or having children is the best way they can contribute to society.
When we are living our life’s purpose and sharing what we have with others, we feel fulfilled and content with who we are and what we have to offer.
When this is lacking, it’s easy to fill the gap by constantly desiring more in other areas of life, such as money or power.
8 Ways to Stop Wanting More
Now that you’ve spent some time learning about and being present with your wants, it’s time to find ways to stop wanting more. These strategies can be used in all areas of life and not just with material desires.
Choose whichever ones resonate with you and make you feel even a smidge more fulfilled or curious just by reading them.
1. Learn to see emptiness as an opportunity for spiritual growth.
When you feel like something is missing or lacking, instead of trying to fill it with another thing, take the time to find out what need isn’t being fulfilled in your life and why.
There are many spiritual approaches to answering this question, including:
- Meditation: This can help you get in touch with your deepest desires and find out what is keeping you from being fulfilled.
- Daily Affirmations: This can help you to see that wanting more is just a part of the human experience and doesn’t have to be something we feel ashamed or guilty about.
- Journaling: You can reflect on what you’ve learned so far in this article, look back at your list of wants, and write down how it feels for you to want more now.
2. Recognize that you are more than your wants and desires.
You can see your desire for something as a part of who you are, but at the same time, remember that there is so much more to who you are than what you want or don’t have.
When we become too focused on our wants, it’s easy to lose sight of what we have to offer the world.
Learning how to be thankful for and proud of our gifts and talents can help us feel fulfilled even when things are lacking in other areas of life.
When you’re feeling empty or wanting more, it might seem impossible, but there is always something that can make your life worthwhile and fulfilling if you just take a moment to reflect on the current power you possess.
3. Recognize that true fulfillment comes from within.
When we don’t rely on outside sources such as relationships, things, and accomplishments to make us feel fulfilled and happy inside, it’s much easier for our wants and desires to be satisfied naturally and organically.
We can learn how to enjoy the process of life itself rather than constantly chasing some future goal.
When we are able to find fulfillment from within, it’s a lot easier for our lives and experiences to feel meaningful even on days when things aren’t going as planned or desired.
The best way to do this is by making the decision that you will be okay no matter what happens next in your life, because of your faith in yourself and your connection to the universe.
4. Make sure you’re pursuing your wants and desires for the right reasons.
When we are in touch with our deepest desires, it’s important that they come from a place of authenticity and truth within ourselves.
This means avoiding getting caught up in what others want us to be or do because we feel like we need their approval in order to feel fulfilled.
When we stop worrying about what others want and focus on our own wants, it becomes easier to be at peace with the decisions we make in life because we can trust that they come from a place of wisdom inside ourselves.
Try making a list of your wants and desires along with all of the reasons why they are important to you, then look at what’s on there.
Do any of them come from an emotionally unhealthy place? If so, it might be time for some self-reflection or even therapy.
5. Stop focusing on what you don’t have and start appreciating all that you do.
We can spend our lives wanting more, but it doesn’t mean we should neglect the wonderful things that are already a part of who we are as individuals.
When we take time to appreciate ourselves and others for what they bring into our lives it’s much easier to find fulfillment in even the smallest of things.
When you are feeling empty, try writing down a list of all of your blessings and everything that is already special about your life.
If you want more, it’s okay to ask for it, but also remember that gratitude can help us get there if we just take time each day to appreciate the good things that we already have.
6. Let go of the past.
It can be difficult to move on from feelings that come from painful experiences in our lives, but it’s necessary if we ever hope to grow and change into happier people.
Ask yourself if your desire to have more stems from something you wanted in the past. Perhaps new experiences will never help to fulfill you if you’re subconsciously trying to go back in time and reclaim something that is no longer possible.
If you’re still hung up on the past, try talking to a loved one about it or writing down your feelings in a journal. You can also take time to do visualization and go back to a certain memory and place in your life, as long as this isn’t too triggering.
Once you’ve processed everything, it will be easier for you to let go of the past and leave your old hurts behind so that you can create a bright future ahead.
7. Learn to accept yourself for where you are at.
When you are trying to find fulfilment in your life, it’s important that you are able to be okay with who you really are deep down inside.
If there is something about yourself that you don’t like or wish was different, try thinking of the positive aspects instead and learning how to appreciate everything about yourself.
When you’re feeling dissatisfied with your life, take a moment to think about what parts of yourself make it special and unique.
If there’s something that needs improvement or work, try making a list of ways in which this can be done without sacrificing who you are. Then see if these changes might lead to greater fulfilment in the long run.
Last but not least, remember that you can learn to love and accept yourself for everything that makes you special — the good and the bad. Work on cultivating a mindset that you are worthy right where you are in life and don’t need anything more to find happiness.
8. Let go of comparison.
If you’re constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling like your life is lacking in comparison, it could be time to stop.
It’s wonderful to do our best and try hard at whatever we set out to accomplish in this world, but when we let ourselves get caught up in the lives of other people around us and focus on what they have, it can take away from our own journey.
When you find yourself comparing your life to others, try taking a step back and thinking about what makes you special as an individual instead of trying to measure up against anyone else.
You may have to let go of certain things such as excessive social media use, but it will be worth your while in the long run.
Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people that can inspire you to achieve greatness — not those who bring out feelings of resentment or inadequacy.
Wanting to grow and evolve in life is an important aspiration, but only when you’re happy with and grateful for what you already have.
Remember that your happiness should not depend on outside factors such as possessions or other people – learn how to find fulfilment from within yourself so you can be truly content with where you are in the present moment.