How to Be Miserable by Always Wanting What I Can’t Have

First, you start by paying attention to everyone else. What they’re doing, what they’re saying, what they’re wearing. Who they are, who their friends are. Paying attention to everyone else is the best way to begin your journey of wanting what you can’t have. Because you’re not like them, you’re you. Because you’re not someone else, you’re you. But paying attention to everyone else reminds you that you’re different, and that you should be something or someone else.

Your next step is to actively despair over what you can and cannot afford. But mom, I really need a new pair of breeches for this show, and they need to be Tailored Sportsman! Unfortunately, just any old pair won’t do. And about that horse… if he’s not in the six figure price bracket, he’s probably not good enough. Dollars do buy ribbons, you know?

After you’ve efficiently begun to care more about what others have, and you’re primed and ready to rack your credit up at Dover, it’s time for the next step.

Immediately pursue a course of disapproval and disappointment of what you have. By recognizing what others have is better, you can actively remind yourself not to appreciate what you have. At this point in time, you should be frowning because anting what you can’t have isn’t a journey towards happiness. There shouldn’t be an easy method to follow in order to want what you can’t have.

The alternative does make for an optimistic destination, though. Learning to appreciate what you have is a game changer.

Personally, I can trace my desire for more and my affinity for wanting things I cannot have far back to a place in time when all I wanted to do was fit in. If I didn’t have the right breeches, the girls in my lesson might not like me or they might think I’m weird. This is one of those scenarios I’d love to talk to my 11-year-old self, to tell her it didn’t matter. As long as she rocked what she was wearing, she felt confident, and as long as she was happy it didn’t matter what the girls in her lesson thought.

They’re just girls.

If I could, I’d tell her that even though confidence would go along way, it was important to remember that she had breeches to ride in. She could go to the barn wearing a pair of breeches someone got for her. I’m not sure why that isn’t enough, but I understand sometimes we all feel like it isn’t. Like we’ve waited so long for a break, like we’ve waited for someone to help us get the things we want.

Unfortunately, we don’t. But we can instead rely on ourselves to have exactly what we want, and we can rely on ourselves to get us the things we want. Finding this self-reliance comes with a side order. What do I mean? A side order of appreciating the things we have.

When you want something you can’t have, it detracts from the value you put on the things you do have. Instead of appreciating the breeches my working mother bought me, I was upset that they weren’t the exact ones the girls in my lesson wore. I didn’t have a 3’6” equitation horse, but I did have a 3’ Adult Equitation Morgan horse who was safe, loving, and mine.

It’s so hard to appreciate what you have before you want more. It really is! Other people get things you want, so maybe you feel like they’re undeserving… but just because someone else has something, doesn’t mean you can’t too. So save up, focus on your goals, and you can have the things you want. But learning to appreciate what you have is the key to the puzzle piece that will enable you to be content. It will enable you to appreciate what you’ve got, so when more comes your way you’re deserving, ready, and prepared to be humble and mindful.

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