This question comes up so often. Not verbatim per se, but I think so many of us ask ourselves … what amount is the right amount of money to where we will feel that we have “enough”? You might ask yourself:
- Am I paid enough?
- Am I saving enough?
- When will I make enough?
- How’s my spouse’s spending and saving?
- Can we/I afford (fill in the blank)?
- Why do my neighbors/friends/family have more stuff/do more things than we can?
Honestly, I’ve been feeling this way lately as well. Our wonderful neighbors and good friends recently moved to a bigger home out in the country. I’d never call myself the jealous type per se, but I really have been feeling unsettled since they left. I want to be in a bigger home, etc. These feelings are just a part of being human. Money (whether bountiful or scarce) comes with emotion. So how do we combat these emotions and feelings?
I think it all boils down to gratitude. Many times, when I’ve felt short-changed, running on empty or that I don’t have enough when I’ve taken the time to sit down and reflect on what I actually already have helps me to realize that I already have what I need. Journaling and reflection can be a wonderful form of self-therapy.
At the start of this year, I felt very motivated to start keeping a gratitude journal in addition to my regular “what I did or felt today” journal. So I bought a separate notebook for this and started writing down something once a day that I was grateful for that day. It’s been amazing to go back and read those entries. Most of them, if not all, center around non-material things. The things I’ve been most grateful for each day have been my family: my husband, my children, and others who have touched and influenced my life in some meaningful way. None of them paid me nor was money ever a part of any transaction that leads to my gratitude.
Instead, my thankfulness came from things like being together, enjoying a moment, engaging on a deeper level with someone I love or care for. Sometimes my gratitude had to do more with me serving someone else than it did with me receiving something from someone else. It is more about having meaningful moments and relationships.
For some people, keeping a journal is the best way to show gratitude (listen to NPR’s Life Kit episode on journaling for more ideas and details about how to start). For others, it could be expressing gratitude in writing or orally to people when they are where gratitude is directed. Gratitude and kindness are inextricably linked and when expressed come back at you. It’s important to not only write about gratitude and explore those feelings but also share with others around you that you are grateful for them or what they’ve done, which becomes a kindness that benefits you both.
Therefore, going back to my original question, how much is enough? This is not a question that requires a number, but instead requires some introspection and thought in what do I already have and appreciate? How can I serve someone else? How can I lift another person or what has someone done for me today that has helped and lifted me? These are the true gems in life. Acknowledging the emotions around money can skew our perspectives and we may forget the good, but today, more than ever, we need to remember the good and be reminded of how much we have to be grateful for.
One of my favorite pictures hanging on my wall says, “the best things in life are not things”. So I posit this back to you:
It’s not about how much is enough, but seeing what you already have and allowing that to be enough. Enough to be happy with your current place and season in life, knowing how quickly life can change and just how fragile it really is.
Enjoy your moment and season because as with all things, it’s bound to change.