Tag Archives: gratitude

It’s OK to Be OK

okWhen did it stop being OK to be OK? Now it’s great, wonderful, amazing, stellar, and even epic. Epic. Really? What does epic even mean, anyway? Heroic and monumental are some of the definitions from standard dictionaries. The Odyssey is a classic example. The Urban Dictionary defines it as “the most overused word ever, next to fail.” Overused is exactly my point—for all these words, except OK.

My daughter skipped and twirled across the lawn and did a cartwheel at the end. “Ta da!” She said. “Wasn’t that amazing?” She asked, beaming ear-to-ear. I had to be honest with her. “That was cool, but I wouldn’t call it amazing.” Do you think I’m a bad parent? I think it’s better to keep it real than to puff her up to believe she’s bigger than life.

It gets dizzying and meaningless when everything is awesome. People become numb and turn to drugs to keep the buzz from wearing off and to keep reality from creeping in. The stress of having to constantly outdo oneself and others leads people to engage in risky behaviors, both in youth and adults.

Let’s face it; most of us really are OK at most things. We may excel at something, but, compared to the rest of the humans on earth, we’re in the middle of the pack. And that’s OK! It’s OK to aspire to have a middle class life. We don’t need to try to be the best or to make millions. Really, it’s OK to have a solid job and have a decent life. Maybe get married, maybe have a family. That’s OK too. And it’s OK not to.

smiley faceLook around you. Most of the people around you are OK. Yes, there are a very rare few in the media who have mansions and insanely lavish lifestyles, but most people don’t. Not to worry. Research shows that having more money doesn’t make you happier, once you have enough to cover the basics. It’s interesting, because most parents say their most important wish for their children is for them to be happy. Voila. You don’t need to pressure them to be the best. It’s OK to be OK.

To Have or Have Not

shoppingBy Joanie Connell

Have you thought about how ironic it is that Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving? One minute we’re appreciating what we have and the next we find ourselves seething for what we want. For some of us, it’s a game to win, for others, it’s getting stuff we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. The New York Times had a photo of someone buying a 50” screen TV at sunrise on Friday and a quote from another person saying she didn’t need any of what she bought but she got a kick out of the great deals.

Have you ever thought about how much all these savings cost us?

  • Buying more for less causes us all to have to work harder. To produce more for less, companies have to hire people for lower wages and make them work harder for every dollar earned. We all know what it’s like in organizations these days, having to generate higher profits by spending less, laying people off and requiring the remaining ones to do the work of 2-3 employees. This is clearly not good for people who value balance in their lives.
  • Collecting more stuff is creates more work for us to get rid of it all. What do we do with all this stuff when we don’t want it anymore? We throw it away! Even charities don’t want lots of the junk people are getting rid of today. While it’s good for the waste management sector, we are paying the costs of managing the waste that companies and households generate—through higher taxes, higher costs of goods, lower salaries, and longer hours worked. Obviously, waste is not only a cost for us, but for Mother Earth as well.
  • Wanting more makes us feel less satisfied. Research shows that materialistic people are less happy than non-materialistic people. When you constantly want more and do not appreciate what you have, you feel shortchanged, envious, resentful, unfulfilled, and so on. These are not healthy feelings and buying more won’t make them go away.

With all these costs, the question remains as to whether the benefits are worth it. It may well be a situation in which less is more. Owning fewer things lets us better appreciate what we have. For example, owning one doll makes that doll special. Owning a collection of dolls makes each one just a part of the collection and creates a desire for more every time a new one comes out. During this shopping season, consider having less to achieve more happiness.