When MORE still is not Enough

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.” – Seneca

Whoever said MORE is the answer?

More money, more possessions, more stuff, more popularity, more ‘likes’, more shares – whatever we feel we don’t have enough of.  MORE sometimes simply just results in more to take care of, more to do, more that can go wrong, more to lose, more clutter, more distractions.

We live in a materialistic world…like it or not, this is true.  Look around you – we all have electronic devices (if you didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this), clothing, books, tools, candles, jewelry, appliances, cars, knickknacks, furniture, stuff, and more stuff!  Yet most of us crave more – we want MORE.  Yet when we get more, we want even more!

MORE becomes a moving target – never to be reached, seemingly getting further and further away.

“I do not read advertisements.  I would spend all of my time wanting things.” – Franz Kafka

We are bombarded every day, thousands of times a day, with messages that we need this-or-that to be happy, that we need the upgraded version to be complete and fulfilled. 

A good bit of our economy is based on fulfilling these unwarranted desires.  Dangling unnecessary items and such other pleasures in front of people until they feel an unmet desire that they just have to fulfill.  Yet they come up as empty promises – leading to wanting even more to fill the void.

We often want things that we THINK will make us happy.  Our imagination, and sometimes our jealousy, shapes our desires and often leads us astray.  It may be that we THINK we want the promotion, or the larger house, or the expensive car, or the gadgets and things, or the early retirement…but when our desire is fulfilled it is less satisfying then we had imagined.  Leaving us wanting more – or different desires.

Reality has a hard time living up to the fantasy we conjure up in our minds about the ‘thing’ and all that surrounds it. 

Our fantasies and imaginations often prevent us from appreciating what we DO have and steal the joy from the now.

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”  Eric Hoffer

According to philosopher Epicurus there are 3 states of desire:

                Those which are natural and necessary

                Those which are natural yet not necessary

                Those which are neither natural nor necessary

It is this last state of desire that causes the most suffering and, coincidentally, what the world dangles in front of us as necessary and needed for a happy life.  When we buy into this marketing, we deem that which is not necessary (or natural) a necessary item and we place our happiness in these empty desires.

“A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.” – Mark Twain

Ever have a great meal, a scrumptious looking plate of food that smells so delicious you can hardly wait to dive in?  If you have then you know that it is nearly impossible to stop eating until it is all gone – even past the point of feeling full.  Truth be told, after about the fifth bite however, the sheer enjoyment and explosion of good taste is familiar and no longer holds the same value as it did at the beginning of the meal.  Yet we continue to eat. 

Afterwards, we may feel bloated, exhausted, guilty or even a bit nauseous.  Ironically, this now takes AWAY from the satisfaction and experience we just enjoyed.  So why don’t we stop?  When is it OK to stop and know that you have enough before you have had too much?

“Not what we have but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance” – Epicurus

Wanting more is a natural phenomenon but it should not replace enjoying what we have. 

We should love our lives for what they ARE as we strive towards where we want to go.  Enjoying each step along the way.

It is not settling for, or compromising, or giving up…it is maturing and growing up!

We all want so much!  But to think that we can, or even should, get all that we want is not necessarily the road to happiness.  Rather we should find happiness in the abundance of all that we do have.

It is the intangible things in life that provide true happiness.  A starry night, a first winter snowfall, a fluttering butterfly, a child’s love, the autumn colors, a sunset across the water, silence among the chaos, a hug. 

Yet we spend countless hours shopping, collecting ‘things’, buying gifts and stuff to fill our lives…but they don’t fill our hearts.

How much is enough?

“Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little.” – Epicurus

Yes, we all find joy in our stuff – our nice homes, our clothing, the ‘finer things in life’ that each of us possess, but where do we fill our spirit?

Ironically, if what we have now does not bring us happiness, satisfaction, or contentment, why will more of the same? 

More of nothing is still nothing.

More of the same is still the same.

“If men could regard the events of their own lives with more open minds, they would frequently discover that they did not really desire the things they failed to obtain.” – Andre Maurois

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