It was a beautiful sunny day in July. I stepped out of the tour guide’s van after a one-hour drive from our hotel in Paris. I stretched my arms out and took a few deep breaths before proceeding to walk down a cobble stone path towards the palace gates.
As our tour group got closer to the gate, I winced when I noticed the plethora of tourists flocking to the entrance of the palace. Noticing my uneasiness, our tour guide smiled at me and reassuringly said, “Don’t worry, I have a special pass that can help us bypass the crowd.”
I sighed in relief and shifted my focus to the lush surroundings of the palace gardens. After only a few minutes, we were able to enter the Palace of Versailles, the royal chateau that was built for the French monarchy in the 16th century.
Upon entering the palace, I was instantly blown away by the opulence and sheer beauty of the magnificent interiors of the palace. I could imagine King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette leisurely strolling down the magnificent Hall of Mirrors dressed in their finest regalia.
About halfway into the tour, our guide began speaking about the French Revolution, and how Marie Antoinette had to pay a heavy price, with her life, because of the ignorance she had shown towards her country’s dire economic conditions.
It seems very likely that she was caught up in her own little bubble of glamorous balls and fêtes in the palace. While indulging in these prodigal pleasures, she neglected the duties required of a benevolent ruler, such as providing guidance and support for her people. This is what led to her ultimate demise.
I couldn’t help but think about how this tendency of chasing superficial pleasures has carried over the centuries. Despite all the progress we have made since then, many people are still losing their way because of it. Like hungry ghosts, they develop an insatiable appetite for the good life and receiving validation from others.
This hunger comes as no surprise, given the prevalent economic and social pecking order in modern day society. A person’s position is based on material symbols of wealth such as their net worth and other monetary assets; and other shallow forms of social currency such as beauty and popularity.
This obsession is clearly evident in the glorification of the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Glossy magazine covers and TV shows place any individual who has “made it”, based on social standards, on a pedestal. Hero worship is now a surprisingly common phenomenon amongst today’s youth.
All this public adulation for these “privileged” individuals has a deep impact on us on a subconscious level, and affects how we feel about our own value as a person. Unfortunately, there are many people who experience a sense of unworthiness as a result of succumbing to these pressures.
No doubt, there are individuals who face genuine financial challenges and struggle to make ends meet. But regardless of what a person’s circumstances are, my question has always been this: what is the point of living if we don’t give ourselves permission to access the joy that comes from feeling abundant? After all, we can never know when our time is up.
Yes, we should strive to improve the quality of our lives, but while we are in the process of doing so, we have to make the best of our current situation and acknowledge the often overlooked forms of “riches” that are already present in our lives.
Here are some of the key ways that you can begin making the shift:
- Recall the times in your life when you experienced an incredible sense of joy. Were you in nature? Were you spending time with kids? Having a cup of cocoa on a snowy evening? Make some detailed notes about those times and notice any common themes that stand out.
- Brainstorm a list of activities that reflect on the themes that you picked up on from your joyful experiences. Schedule time specifically for these activities during your week.
- Commit to a regular practice of writing a gratitude journal. In this way, you program your mind to appreciate the things you tend to take for granted.
- Spend more time with people who have abundant and progressive mindsets and less with those who drain your energy and bring out the worst in you.
- Collect images of all material desires you would like to manifest in your life and place them on your vision board. Close your eyes and acknowledge those desires and, immediately after that, release your attachment to them. Tell yourself that you will try your best to attain those specific dreams, but you are open to receiving other forms of abundance from the Universe.
By practicing these techniques, you will gradually develop a healthier perspective on what it means to be wealthy. Based on your new standards, you will begin to see that you are wealthier than you had imagined!
To me, a person who is truly wealthy is someone who can maintain a sense of peace, contentment, and centeredness at their core. They do this by focusing on spiritual forms of wealth such as love, contribution, and following a path of purpose – this is something that no amount of money can ever provide.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: Were you raised to believe that material and financial wealth defined a persons worth? If yes, how has this belief impacted your life and your choices? Based on your experience, what advice would you give to others on how to feel abundant in their life?
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