Let’s talk about having. It’s a controversial subject since we are always told to focus on being rather than on having.
Still, when you think about it, without having it’s usually impossible to properly focus on being. Without having things that matter (and material things are just the base of the pyramid) for most of us – myself included – being, fully being who you are meant to be, is a distant reality.
What does all mean to you?
When it comes to having it all, the most important issue is knowing what all actually means for you. For most unhappy people on this planet all is an enigmatic concept with no boundaries, defined by their lack of purpose and/or self awareness more than anything else. Too often it’s defined by external comparison, i.e. what others have. (The fundamental problem with this approach is that there will always be ‘others’ of some kind who have much more.)
I’d like to invite you now to focus solely on having. Immerse yourself fully in thinking about the things you have that matter to you, things you plan on having that are substantial to your overall happiness, as well as things it’d be nice to have. Make a list of them, mull them over until you can organise your list into a few distinct categories.
Here are mine:
- Inner life
- Relationships with others
- Relationship with myself
Now pick only one desirable for each category. It may be difficult at first but when you start comparing things to each other it slowly becomes obvious what you’d rather give up. Below I talk about what came up for me in each of the categories.
What I need in my life
In the Lifestyle section I highlighted freedom. Freedom may, in fact, be the most important possession out of anything else I could think of when I focused on my ideal way of life. For me it amounts to the ability to live my life – and conduct my career – on my own terms. Not being bound by things small (like working hours) and big (such as social conventions) means everything to me, enabling me to create an environment where I can blossom.
It’s likely that Lifestyle popped up as a category for you as well. Think about what matters most, while not being afraid to list all the more down-to-earth types of possessions that come to mind and would undoubtedly bring you some happiness, even if short lived (a more profitable business, plenty of money to spare, houses, cars, designer outfits and more). Purely material cravings like these were on my list too, such as money to travel around the world, and nice dresses that help me feel super confident when on stage. In fact, I fully believe it’s tremendously important to acknowledge them and be able to derive some happiness from them. Only by bringing all your needs to your full consciousness – and accepting them as they are – can you analyse them and eventually move past those that don’t actually serve you.
Not being bound by things small (like working hours) and big (such as social conventions) means everything to me, enabling me to create an environment where I can blossom.
A healthy inner life
Internal life and matters of emotions and spirituality are a vast subject. I’m fairly sure that amongst the listed categories this is, for me, the most important one. As long as my spiritual and emotional life is healthy, I’ve got the foundation to rebuild everything else – Lifestyle, Relationship with others and with myself. Healthy inner life means, to me, most of all being fundamentally at peace. In other words, knowing I’m doing the right thing, led by values I believe in.
You could say that this belongs to the being rather than having category. I don’t disagree so why don’t we let it belong to both? The most important things in life tend to overlap the be and the have. You need to first be something in order to have something, and vice versa.
The support network
Another important category I highlighted is Relationships with others. My mentor, Shaa (Shaa.com), calls it the support network. Most of us had to go through a personal crisis at least once to understand the true importance of those around us who care for our wellbeing and happiness. At this stage of my life I have no doubts whatsoever that without the support of significant (and less significant) others, I’m too fragile to survive, let alone achieve important things. Again, this is where being very clearly overlaps with having. You have to be a certain type of person in order to have a loyal, dedicated, wide and generous support network.
Last but not least, let’s look at Relationship with myself. Things I classified as must-haves here are: self-respect, self-awareness and, finally, self-love that is wise and understanding. Keeping healthy, fit and good looking also play an important part in my relationship with myself. Overall, the possession of self-love demands plenty of continuous work. For me, personally, this possession is the most difficult to acquire and at the same time, not just because of that, the most cherished and desirable. Having an unshakable loving relationship with myself means that irrespective of other circumstances in my life and my career, I will be able to regain balance.
These are just examples of things that can end up on your Having It All List. It’s good not just to be aware of them but to keep them at the forefront of your conscious mind so they can steer your actions towards acquiring them. Every day, ask yourself ‘what can I do to gain more of these things in my life?’ Very often the must-haves (as long as they are obvious to you) can be quite close at hand and it becomes just a matter of giving them enough attention. Sometimes, just like me, you could reach a conclusion that – surprise, surprise! – you quite simply already have all it takes to be absolutely happy. The remainder of the work then needs to be done on the being side of things. But that’s for another interesting and lengthy discussion.