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How Can I Learn to Appreciate What I Have in Life?

Even if a person is not living in his dream home yet, he can still appreciate the roof over his head.
One way an individual can appreciate what she has is by going for a nature walk and enjoying the beauty all around.
One can learn to enjoy the simple things, like appreciating how a new pillow looks on the couch or enjoying a pleasant smell.
A simple thank you card.
Focusing on the positive things in life can create a sense of empowerment.
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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2014
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No matter our exact situation in life, we all face disappointment and pit falls at some point. During these periods of adversity, we may get so caught up in these negative situations that we find our selves not appreciating the more positive aspects of our lives. Yet, if you don't make a conscious effort to appreciate what you have, it's often all too easy to focus on what you don't have and that can turn into a sense of self-complacency rather than a feeling of self-empowerment. Try to focus on the positive things in life and show your gratitude for what you do have rather than what you don't.

Appreciating what you have in your life can empower you because you can focus on all of the things you've done to get as far as you have. For example, if you realize that you have a roof over your head despite the fact that you're not yet living in the home of your dreams, you can see not only how far you have to go to get your dream, but appreciate how far you've come. You can appreciate what you've earned for yourself already, and believe in your own ability to be able to achieve the next level, and the next, until you get what you really want. Try to recognize the difference between situations and actions you can control and those you can't.

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Showing gratitude is another way to appreciate what you have. If you’re truly thankful for what you have, it helps you to appreciate it more. No matter how difficult a day is, for example, we can be grateful that we are here to have that day. If everything seems to be going wrong, but we are basically healthy, we can be grateful for our health.

Even when we’re sick, we can appreciate the small things. Many people don’t take time to appreciate the beauty of nature, for example. Taking time to walk in your neighborhood can not only help you appreciate things about it that you may have never noticed before, but the walk can also give you some needed exercise and fresh air as well.

You can make a point to think about the small everyday things that you like. This can be as simple as the smell of your laundry detergent, or the way the new throw pillow you made or bought for your couch looks. You may be far from having everything you want in your life, but by appreciating what you have now, you can be happier while you're working on achieving the rest of your dreams.

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Discuss this Article

vigilant
Post 19

I appreciate everything I have because there was a time in my life when I had nothing but the clothes on my back and a few coins in my pocket. I lived on the streets and was one minor setback away from ruining my life in a way that couldn't be fixed.

But I got some help from both myself and from others and now I have a job, a home, warm clothes and a hot meal every night. Anytime I feel myself getting unsatisfied, or wishing I had more, I just think about what it was like to be completely down and out.

summing
Post 18

Being humble is more difficult than it gets credit for sometimes. But for me what works is thinking about people who have less than me, often far, far less. How can I lust after more and more things when my standard of living is already right at the top of the world? Thinking relatively really helps you appreciate what you have.

StarJo
Post 17

@seag47 – Though it's not good to develop an addiction to pain pills, some people do need mood altering drugs to help them get through life. I'm talking about antidepressants.

People who are clinically depressed may find it impossible to appreciate the things in their lives, but it isn't their fault. They have a chemical imbalance that needs to be corrected through medication, especially if therapy doesn't work.

I've had friends who became much more appreciative and grateful for what they had after their antidepressants kicked in. Now, I don't think this would work for someone who wasn't clinically depressed, but for those who are, the drugs can do wonders.

seag47
Post 16

I feel much more appreciative and loving when I'm on pain pills. This isn't something that I recommend to anyone as a way to enjoy what you have, but it is a fortunate side effect of taking them. Suddenly, everything is wonderful and I love everyone!

Oceana
Post 15

Sometimes, all it takes is a bad dream to awaken you to the greatness of what you do have. I had a dream once that my house burned down and I lost several family members. It was so long and real that when I woke up, it took several seconds for me to realize it had been a dream.

I was so grateful for my house and my family for the rest of the day. I had just a taste of what life would be like without them, and it had been like a vision to me that made me appreciate everything and everyone so much.

JackWhack
Post 14

I was asking myself this question just yesterday. In the middle of the afternoon, I got the blues. I felt sad that I'm in my thirties, yet I still don't own a house.

Suddenly, I decided that it might make me feel better if I focused my energy on improving the appearance of the house that I rent. Doing a little homemaking would at least make me feel like I was proud of the place where I lived, whether or not I could legally claim it as my own.

I cleaned the spider webs off the front of the house and swept the porch and the steps. I moved some junk off the porch and placed some fresh cedar branches in a huge flower pot.

Just that little bit of work went a long way toward making me appreciate my home. I think that we have to be where we are in life, and by that I mean fully be in each moment. Make the most of what you are given.

honeybees
Post 13

I don't want bad things to happen to people, but sometimes it takes seeing how bad off someone else is before I am really thankful for what I have. This might seem like a selfish way to look at things, but it does make me realize I need to be more grateful.

LisaLou
Post 12

My mom always reminded us to count our blessings. As a kid you didn't think too much about this, but now I realize what she meant. Like this article says, I also realize it takes conscious effort to do this.

If you take the path of least resistance it is easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged about the things in life that get you down. This is also something that has to be done every day. It isn't a one time thing of deciding you are going to start appreciating what you have.

I find the same thing holds true when it comes to marriage. If I focus on all the positive things about my spouse, the negative things don't bother me nearly as much. On the other hand, if all I do is think about everything negative, it is hard to appreciate all the good things about him.

myharley
Post 11

When my dad came home from the hospital after colon cancer surgery and treatment, he was struck by how good home looked to him. He said the grass never seemed greener and the flowers never more beautiful than the day he got home. It is times like those that help you to really appreciate the little things in life that can bring much joy.

golf07
Post 10

I have been through some tough times in my life and through it all have tried to develop an attitude of gratitude. I realize there are many things I can't control, but I can control my attitude and how I respond to a situation.

I started keeping a gratitude journal where I would write down something each day that I was thankful for. Once you start doing this, you realize how many things you truly do have to be thankful for. You will still have hard times and challenging days, but it helps to focus on the good things in your life.

croydon
Post 9

@pastanaga - I'll bet they have deep community ties as well. A lot of research as shown that if you want to know how to appreciate what you have, it helps to have a lot of close stable ties with a community.

The other thing that can help is to help others. Not so much so that you can compare your life to theirs, but just because it makes you happier in general which can help with the appreciation.

pastanaga
Post 8
@MrsPramm - I've visited developing countries, and the interesting thing is that most of the time the people over there do appreciate what they've got, much more than people here do. I remember seeing a documentary where a man asked a woman what she thought about her house. It was just a bit of colored plastic stretched over some struts.

And she said she felt so lucky to live in such a beautiful house. To be honest, I think it's because they aren't exposed to so much advertising and the competitiveness that seems to pervade the air here. Kids make do with what they've got for entertainment and the adults do the same.

MrsPramm
Post 7

To me, it helps to think of positively and appreciation as being an act of will. I used to think of it as pure luck whether or not I woke up in a good mood or whether I was going to be happy that day. To some extent it still is, of course.

But I can change it. I can look around my life and decide to be happy with it.

No matter how awful my current circumstances are, there's always something to appreciate. I know that sounds cheesy, but it really works for me.

I guess it helps that I enjoy nature and history and all those sorts of things, so I can always be grateful for the interesting world around me.

AuthorSheriC
Post 4

Symiana: That sounds like an inspiring type of newsletter.

symiana
Post 3

So true! I spend every day doing my best to encourage people- I write a newsletter that promises to teach people something new every day.

AuthorSheriC
Post 2

Very profound and very true -- at least in my own experience. I think we can be grateful and appreciative of what we have now while still striving to achieve the things we may prefer in our lives.

anon17885
Post 1

I study the teachings of Abraham Hicks. They teach you that by spending your focus on appreciating what you do have, you will allow the things that you desire to come to you. You see when you focus on negative things, you are creating resistance and blocking the things you desire from coming into your life. Appreciating what is all around you is what lifts all resistance and allows your desires to manifest into your life.

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