Looking rich and feeling rich are two different things. Feeling rich comes from having a mindset of abundance. When we cultivate this mindset by focusing on the right things and knowing our priorities, we can feel abundant no matter how much we make. (Estimated reading time: 4 minutes)
“Your inner wealth is your best friend.”— Dalai Lama
It was a beautiful sunny day in July. I stepped out of the tour guide’s van after a grueling one-hour drive from 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 approached the gate, I winced when I noticed the long line to enter the 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 with relief and shifted my focus to the lush surroundings of the palace gardens. After only a few minutes, we entered the Palace of Versailles, the royal chateau that was built for the French monarchy in the 16th century.
Upon entering the palace, I was 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 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 responsible ruler, such as providing leadership and support for her people. Her ignorance led to her ultimate demise.
I couldn’t help but think about how this propensity to chase superficial pleasures has carried over the centuries. Despite all the progress we’ve 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 pecking order of our society. A person’s position is based on material symbols of wealth such as their net worth 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 those who have “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 privileged individuals has a deep impact on us on a subconscious level—it affects how we feel about our own value as a person. Many people experience a sense of unworthiness as a result of this.
There are individuals who undoubtedly face genuine financial challenges and struggle to make ends meet. But regardless of what a person’s circumstances are, we should ourselves this question: what’s the point of living if we don’t give ourselves permission to feel the joy that comes from feeling abundant? After all, we can never know when our time is up.
We can strive to improve the quality of our lives, but while we’re in the process of doing so, we have to make the best of our current situation by acknowledging the often overlooked forms of riches that are already present in our lives.
We also need to redefine what wealth really means to us on our terms, outside the paradigm that we were exposed to.
Here are some key ways that you can begin making the shift:
1. Recall the times in your life when you experienced a deep sense of joy. Were you in nature? Were you spending time with kids? Having a cup of cocoa on a snowy evening? Make detailed notes about those times and notice any common themes that stand out.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
4. 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.
By practicing these techniques, you’ll gradually develop a healthier perspective on what it means to be wealthy. Based on your new standards, you’ll begin to see that you can feel abundant no matter how much you actually earn.
All my best on your journey,
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