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Ep.102 Why should I give thanks when I haven't reached my goals yet?

reading time: 3m 43s

The Minimalist Stoic

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." Epictetus

To grieve is to feel intense sorrow or anguish and distress.

When we want something so intensely that it distresses us, we feel the loss for something we never had. Yet, we are conditioned to desire, and it's painful when we don't understand the root of it.

We live in a society that values status. Everywhere we look, status is expressed in different ways.

Sometimes its expressed as physical possessions- whether it be cars, clothes, homes, or collections of something of value. These possessions are physical manifestations of the person's expression of status.

Status is often expressed as "power over."

This would be a leader in a company, a firm, a religious organization, or a government. Power itself isn't status. Power can be good when utilized for good. "Power over" is associated with the desire to achieve power for personal gain. It's wanting or desiring a position of status that can create benefits without regard to others.

Status is beginning to embody the idea of "freedom."

People desire "freedom from" responsibility. Freedom from working hard. Freedom from having bills. Freedom from having a boss. Freedom from having to clean or do tasks that take away their time. This is evidenced in advertisements for convenient new ways to get things done, outsource, or get rich quickly from online gurus.

But if you strip down your goals to their essential function, what is there? What do you genuinely want to achieve and why?

Status is the drug that addicts us to pursuing wealth, possessions, and influence without understanding our deepest needs or desires. It's acquiring things and power as a means to status rather than a means to evolve.

Does your goal achievement result in more money? More power? More Influence?

These things aren't bad or wrong, but ask yourself why you need or want them.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs shows us that evolving is natural and normal.

Once our basic survival needs are met- such as food, shelter, and safety, it gives us the freedom to want more and be more. Do you currently have food, shelter, and security?

A need for love and belonging comes after basic survival and safety.

We desire and need to receive and give love, affection, trust, and acceptance. Do you have love relationships- family, friends, or even work?

The human goal directly after is the need for a sense of esteem.

This is respect for others and self-respect. It's a sense of competence and accomplishment. In what ways do you feel accomplished? What are your skills?

Knowledge and understanding help us grow from there.

We get curious and need to explore. We want to find meaning or create it. How do you currently explore? What purpose can you find in your life right now?

When our needs are met up to this point (physiological, safety, belonging and love, esteem, and cognitive), we desire beauty.

We look for beauty in both art and nature. We appreciate symmetry, balance, form, color, and music. What is beautiful in your life? What beauty do you seek, recognize, and value?

The final goal may always be an elusive one. This is self-actualization.

Self-actualization means becoming everything we are capable of being. As we evolve through life and our minds expand, so does our potential. Our capabilities and capacity for actualization grow. Do you know what you're capable of?

If you perceive a limit to who you can become or feel you've reached that limit to what you can accomplish, take a step back and examine which of your other needs aren't being met.

Do not feel sorrow or anguish for what you don't have or are not yet achieving.

Instead, during this week of Thanksgiving, examine the journal questions provided and explore what you do have. Rejoice, or celebrate and give thanks for what you have and all that you've accomplished.

Your Journal Prompts for this week:

  1. What food, shelter, and safety do I have that allows me to focus on other goals? What relationships provide me love, acceptance, and trust? How do I express this back to them?

  2. What purpose can I find in my life as it is now? What beauty exists around me?

  3. Who am I capable of being? If I fast-forwarded my life 10 years and I've accomplished everything I want in life that I want, who is it that I am being? What are my values? What are my contributions to the world?

(Make a list of all of the answers in your journal to remind yourself to be grateful and rejoice in these things.)

Minimalist Weekly Challenge:

  • Clean out your closet this week. Remove clothes, shoes, etc., that you never wear. Separate items that are gently worn but are still helpful.

  • Donate them to a charity that gives them freely to low-income or homeless people (not to a charity that resells them). Better yet, donate directly to a shelter.

Time to complete: 45 minutes to clean; 45 minutes to donate.

Your slightly used clothes and shoes may provide the warmth or safety another person needs for basic survival. Then, you'll have one more thing to be grateful for as you become your best self.

Here's a link to your free, Printable 1-page Journal prompt and Challenge Sheet.

With Vitality + Purpose + Love,

Kourt @ The Minimalist Stoic

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." Epictetus

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