Happiness truly is just a state of mind. You can be happy if you choose to be. When you want things that you can’t have, it can make you unhappy, even miserable.
I used to be driven to acquire things. I would get excited about the the prospect of having item X, and I would dream about how great my life would be if only I had item X. The problem was that there were only two different ultimate outcomes in my desire to acquire X and neither ever lived up to my expectations:
I would get item X, be very excited about it for about five minutes, then forget about it and start fixating on the next item X that was sure to be the secret to lifelong happiness and fulfillment.
Item X was an unrealistic, unattainable dream that made me bitter, angry and depressed, because I just knew that if only I could get unattainable X, I would no longer be miserable.
So the cycle of desire, accumulation and self-imprisonment began. I became a slave to the stuff. I held on to most of it in boxes thinking that it was too special and too valuable to get rid of. Over time, I accumulated a ridiculous number of boxes of item X’s that failed to bring me the happiness that I sought. That meant that I had boxes full of what I viewed as proof of my failures as a constant reminder of how unhappy I was.
Eventually, I got so fed up with this cycle and with being burdened with all of the boxes that I just said “THIS IS INSANE.” Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I WAS doing the same thing over and over again trying to find happiness, but failing miserably, yet I kept right on doing it.
To say I just stopped would be over simplifying. I’m far from perfect and I struggled, and still struggle from time to time, but I knew then and know now that I am on the right path. I had to stop wanting item X.
I stopped buying things to make me happy and started getting rid of the clutter and the boxes, so that I could focus on figuring out what WOULD make me happy.
Come to find out, what makes me happy is being content with what I have, and with where I am now. Once I stopped making the next item X my goal, I was already much happier. My thoughts and dreams are now based on growing as a human being and making my family happy and healthy.
Now that I don’t want much, I CAN have everything that I want. I spend my time finding inspiration in books and from other peoples success stories in voluntary simplicity, and I keep myself and my family healthy and fit with good clean foods, exercise and sunshine. All of these things enrich all our lives and the lives of those around us. All of these things are attainable, and once attained DO lead to true fulfillment and happiness.