The other night as we were finishing a particularly great meal, I said, “I could eat that every day.” At that time, I meant it. The taste lingering in my mouth, the feeling of being full and the fun of sharing a meal with people I love had created a wonderful sense of satisfaction. But then I began thinking about what I had just said. When we step back and consider a statement like that, we realize that even good things, in excess, eventually lose their appeal.
You know the old saying, “Variety is the spice of life.” The reason steak or lobster is such a treat is that most of us don’t have such rich and expensive food that often. I know a family who raises their own beef so at their house, steak is “the usual.” Since they eat steak so regularly they consider it special to have macaroni and cheese or take-out chicken!
Let’s face it – there’s such a thing as having too much of a good thing. If we create a standard of expectation for our lives that dictates that we must always have the best foods, designer clothes, expensive cars and a mountain of material things, it’s easy to lose a sense of anything being special. When the “best” of everything becomes an everyday thing, it becomes very difficult to find anything that creates that wonderful feeling of being satisfied. Nice things and rich food simply don’t guarantee your happiness. Posh detox and recovery spas are often filled to capacity with people trying to overcome the addictions they formed while trying to recreate a feeling of happiness, satisfaction and well-being.
The loss of satisfaction is not limited to wealthy people who can afford every luxury. It is equally prevalent among every socioeconomic group when people believe that their own happiness and satisfaction is the primary goal of life. When someone lives to serve their own appetites and desires and directs their resources primarily to self-gratification, it is almost guaranteed that they will not experience genuine satisfaction for any extended period of time.
The great news in this is that real satisfaction in life is found in things that money can’t buy. Sitting at a table for one at a swanky restaurant is unlikely to be as enjoyable as grabbing a burger with your spouse or best friend. Your menu for tonight might be caviar or fish sticks, but if you accept it with a grateful attitude, you are halfway there. If you have the opportunity and privilege of sharing your meal with someone you care about, that is a source of real joy. One of our greatest human needs is to belong, which is accomplished by connecting with other people, not by always having the best of everything.
I love a gourmet meal as the next guy and will take opportunities to enjoy new experiences whenever I can, but I enjoy those things because they are “special.” Don’t burn out on having too much of a good thing. I have learned that if you put love and relationships first and choose to be contented with the “ordinary” you can live an “extraordinary” life as you derive greater enjoyment from the times you do have an elegant meal, buy new clothes or do something special.
Please share with our readers what you have learned about finding true satisfaction in life. How has buying things affected your happiness? Thanks for sharing your story!
Live, Work & Relate Well!