Being Thankful for What We Have

In our society where it’s value to push forward to try to get ahead at all times, being happy for what we have can often be construed as laziness.  Keeping a positive attitude, and even happiness, might seem out of place where big success hasn’t been achieved yet.  The thinking is that once we are satisfied and content, we won’t work hard to get ahead. Instead, we’ll get stuck in place.

The message: always keeping driving forward to achieve more and more. There is always more money to be made, a better house to buy, a flashier car to drive, more muscles to build or weight to lose, etc.

Personally, while I do take that approach quite often, I’ve come to believe that sometimes we just have to just step back and take stock of what we have. While doing that, look for the positives and for the things we can appreciate having.

In short, for many of us, there is much for which we can be thankful.

I’ve been thinking about this, as I keep driving forward toward the never ending quest and thirst for achievement.  Sometimes, it seems, we need to stop and smell the roses as they say. Additionally, we might even stop and realize how lucky we might actually be.

  • Think you have a long way to go toward retirement? Well, there are plenty of people who don’t have a sufficient emergency fund, let alone funds for retirement!
  • Worried about not getting ahead in your career? There are tons of people who have fallen into the category of the long-term unemployed, and haven’t been able to find work for a long time.
  • Upset that you’re living in a modest home, while your friends are living in nice homes that they bought? Well, there are plenty of people who lost their homes to foreclosure and have had their lives turned upside down.
  • Frustrated that you still have work ahead of you to get out of debt?  Well, there are people with families that declare bankruptcy and have trouble putting food on the table.

You get the idea.

What I’m getting at, as you see, is that I’ve been thinking that it’s a good time for me to stop and reflect on what I do have, as opposed to what I’m working toward or what I want.  It’s humbling, in a way, to get out of our own ego and truly stop and think about the good things that we really do have.

Thinking of the personal finance hierarchy of needs, I’m thankful to have the base level covered: food, shelter, and medical care when needed. I’m at varying stages with the next levels up, which is something to be thankful for as well. So what if the top of the pyramid is many years away? Things are good now in many ways.

For many of us, when it comes to our money, there is probably at least one thing we can be truly thankful for. Right?

My Questions for You:

Do you take enough time to reflect on what you’re thankful for when it comes to your finances?

What are the things you’re most thankful for these days? Please feel free to share whether money-related or otherwise.

Comments

  1. Eric J. Nisall - DollarVersity says

    Every day I am reminded of how lucky I am to live the life I do and have the health I’ve had. Whether I take the streets to work or the highway to fun, I always pass homeless people and it reminds me that they were probably once in my position, so I know that I shouldn’t take anything for granted. And that is the exact reason I don’t scrimp on every purchase trying to squeeze out every last penny of savings I can, and why I don’t care to live a cheap lifestyle, sacrificing enjoyment, adventure, or anything else for the sake of saving. Let’s face it, that day may never come, and in the intermediate any of us can end up like those people I see every day. What that will result in is just regret which is something I don’t believe in living with.

  2. shanendoah says

    C and I were talking about this not so long ago. He’s the kid that grew up in government assited housing, needing donations from the food bank in order to eat. No matter how tight things have been for us in the past few years, we’ve been able to pay our bills, put food on our table, and donate to local food drives.
    Sometimes it feels like we’re “behind” our friends, but then we stop to remember where we started, and the truth is, we’re golden.

  3. Eric says

    I appreciate my situation every day. I am thankful that I have a safe and wonderful home (with less than a $100k mortgage balance and am far from underwater). I am thankful to have paid for both a new car and an MBA at a private school and have no debt on either. I am thankful that I have the ability to invest and save for my future while living the lifestyle I want.

  4. Invest It Wisely says

    Agreed, Ray, sometimes it’s too easy to take things for granted, but it’s important to be thankful for what we do have. Focusing too much on what others have can turn self-destructive at a point.

  5. AverageJoe says

    I feel VERY thankful I have a healthy family. I was thinking about this on the way to a funeral (morbid, I know). I can’t believe I’ve made it this far without any real tragedy around me. I’m very lucky and thankful for that. Probably shouldn’t say that out loud, but it’s true.

  6. ImpulseSave says

    It’s so true – it’s so easy to lose track of what’s important and just look at the new things you want. But honestly, if I just take the time to look around and see what I already have, I have so much to be thankful for. I stress out about meeting my financial goals and paying off debt, plus saving for things I really want and think would make my life better – but I should also take a look around and see everything I already have.

  7. William @ Drop Dead Money says

    Great post! We sure have a lot to be thankful for: our 40th comes up next month (if I don’t forget again! LOL)

    We intentionally create celebration opportunities every time something thank-worthy comes up. It may be flowers for the house, a quick meal out, a dessert (we rarely eat dessert) or something silly.

    But we celebrate on purpose. It’s funny how many things you find to be thankful for if you give yourself a reward for doing that ! :)

  8. 101 Centavos says

    One of my favorite reminders to self, “It could be worse!”.

    It’s common to ask arriving travelers how the journey was, and during my business travels I get that question often. My response invariably is “We landed just fine”. That’s a minimum level of success, everything else is a bonus.

  9. Barbara says

    I am thankful for life itself and having the activity of my limbs. I say often very day “Life is good,” and I thank God hundreds(I am serious) f times each day fr things being as well as they are. I made up my time during one of the darkest times of my life that I will rejoice and be glad(thankful)regardless of what is going on in my life because it is so good to be alive. I enjoed all of the comments, but Eric’s on made my heart rejoice. To you and all the great souls on here I say”Thanks.”

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