I am a determined habit tracker and goal seeker, always striving to do/see/feel/experience more. That’s how I’m wired; I hardly think about this side of me, I just live in it. But when I’m constantly on the lookout for more, I find that I have a great deal of it. (I wouldn’t say I have All, I think this is nonsense. That’s also untrue.) I get to be at home with my kids and spend every little moment I can with them before they grow up and leave the symbolic nest. I have a partner who works hard so that I can stay at home. We’re all in good health, and while I get to use my mind in ways that fuel me creatively, I get paid to do something I love. As someone who has known her since she was young, it is very satisfying.
It’s all satisfying, it’s all giving me moments of pleasure—and yet I want more. Financial freedom, travel, success—I want it all. Enter my cognitive dissonance. Why do I need more when I already have so much? Does this make me greedy and ungrateful?
And then there are those who have less, for whom enjoyment is something they must actively do, just maybe, possibly, if they’re lucky, use it. I feel bad about it, like being so happy — happier than ever (except maybe that year I lived in Italy?) — is somehow not cool. Can I celebrate this joy when so many others in my class are struggling to find it?
These are the questions running through my mind as I start planning my next year. They make me question whether I can celebrate my happiness when I know that so many others are in constant battle with their selves. I know this is not my battle to fight, and my being less happy is not going to make others more happy. Joy is not a pie; My piece doesn’t get smaller when yours gets bigger. If anything, I’d say it’s the opposite; Happiness multiplies. It is the antidote to the universal truth that hurts and hurts people.
Sometimes when I consider all that I have and wonder what more I could want, I feel guilty, like the simple act of wanting more makes me ungrateful for all that I have. Huh.
Yet, sometimes when I consider all that I have, think about what more I might need, I feel guilty, like the simple act of wanting more makes me ungrateful for all that I have. I have
No more! It is not wrong to be happy. I am no better or worse than anyone else because I have a life in which I experience true joy every day. Empathy is a true gift to this world, but when I struggle with these thoughts considering my own happiness and the lack of others, I realize how quickly empathy can turn into martyrdom—and that it actually pays off. Is none of us.
There is nothing wrong in being ambitious and wanting to achieve more. I need to resolve that nebulous dissonance because now I see that if I don’t work for more—if I wallow in the mire of complacency—my joy will slowly slip away.
maybe that’s the wish Is my happiness.
It’s not a lack of gratitude, it’s not wanting I had it better; That drive is just what makes me happy. And it’s an amazing feeling.
I’ve come up with a few mantras to help you navigate this cognitive dissonance, and I’m going to share them with you in case you need a reminder of the beautiful, transformative power of one of the simplest words in our language. going to do: And.
i can love my life And need more.
i can find happiness in my children And Want to spend time away from them.
i can be fulfilled And Craving for more professional satisfaction.
i can satisfy And and want to make.
i can love my people And want to be alone.
i can be a mother And I can be me
Parents, creators, human beings who exist today—we are pulled in many directions. We are mothers and we are sisters, employees and students. Maybe I’m still learning this, but I think it’s okay to be satisfied in one or all of our titles—to be happy, even—and still want more. And, importantly: It’s okay to feel joy in our work, in our lives, in our relationships, when not everyone else does. What is not right is to reduce that happiness because others do not get to experience their own.
i can be happy And Others may be sad.
And while it is a painful truth, it is a fact nonetheless.
Collina Cicero is obsessed with stories – reading them, writing them, getting lost in them. Other things she enjoys include yoga, traveling and cooking, Italian and writing classes. His first children’s book, Rosie and the Hobby FarmIt was published in July 2020.