Want to Simplify Your Life? Examine the “Myth of More”

Stress

“Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.” – George Bernard Shaw

By: Alison Ellison

What does the “Myth of More” look like to you?

If you have you ever thought “more is better” or “two would be better than one?” — you’ve crossed into its territory.

There is an undercurrent to our lives that more is necessary (and needed). However, when it becomes part of our everyday vocabulary, it can quickly complicate our lives; creating an overflow of stress and worry.  I used to fall prey to this myth, secretly looking for ‘more’ in the form of projects, possessions, activities and friends.  Money, promotions, trips, and trinkets had been the object of my affections — in what I thought was a very innocent path.

Isn’t this what I am supposed to want? Isn’t this the American Dream?

When I began asking myself what mattered most in my life — the projects, possessions and titles did not even make the list. So what was I really doing? I woke up to the realization that I didn’t “own” my job or the “stuff”.

The desire to amass more owned me.

I realized that I needed to deal (and banish) the myth and the process was certainly more of a journey than a single “aha” moment. When I actively changed the focus from material desires to more meaningful needs — my life became simple. It felt infused with purpose.

“More” is an operative word that can grip us. Our wants, desires and cravings continue to ramp up. (The myth begins to require more feeding, with increased regularity.)  The endless loop we get caught up in can look like this:

1)   The more we want, the more we desire.

2)   The more we desire, the more we crave.

3)   The more we crave, the more we reach for something, anything to fill that need.

Getting off this roller coaster requires something entirely different. It requires getting quiet — and moving away from the work and digital distractions. It requires solitude. It requires reflection. Put your hand and over the heart and ask, “What matters most to me?” and “What experiences do I want to seek?”

Craving often begins, with a sense that we are missing something — a need. We would like to correct that defect and feel better. Cravings come in many forms (we usually think of food and habits first). However, we should consider other types of cravings as well. Seeking validation from the outside world to feel happier, loved, or approved of, can also be a craving that can direct us to seek “more”.

However, don’t despair. Just as we shift into a counter-productive habit, we can shift into an improved habit. Small steps and consistency are the key.

Try the following — and with practice, you will soon be able to separate the desire for more money, promotions, toys, trinkets, with the desire for more time, connection, resilience and confidence.

1)  Identify what you are seeking. Hint: Seeking is often something outside of ourselves. Be honest. Do you envision a promotion, love, money, travel?

2)  Identify the feelings you would like to come with manifestation. Chances are you are looking for something other than the actual physical manifestation. Could it be possible you desire contentment, connection, abundance, adventure, or joy? It is quite important to connect the desire to the experienced emotion.

3)  Ask yourself if your body, mind, and spirit supports that answer. Does that little voice inside your mind or your intuition have guidance any to offer? If the answer is no, then go back and ask WHY and identify where the desire was born.

Here is one experience with the myth from my own life. During a particularly challenging project, I was feeling extremely anxious and nervous. After some reflection, I realized that I was actually seeking approval for a new idea that I was introducing. To feel more confident, I undertook a relentless quest for research, information, guidance and instruction — so I could validate that the idea was sound. If I just reviewed one more study and provided more, I would satisfy that need for validation.

This lead to overload. That is, until I fought (and banished) the myth. When the scale finally tipped toward overload, it was time to consider who was running the show.  (Learning to listen to my inner voice, helped me.)

While taking a deeper dive into why I was seeking validation, I realized the overwhelming need to race and become an expert. However when I paused, I possessed far more wisdom and knowledge than I gave myself credit. (I was trained and prepared for the challenge.) In this situation, with the desire to prove my project worthy, I became entangled in the motivation to provide more. More time. More energy. More emotion.

Banishing the myth of more is one method to simplify your life.

Letting life and work become simple once again, through the identification of what you are really seeking.

Are there “mores” in your life that should be banished? What is truly behind the need?

Alison Ellison, is a soulful simplicity “strategist”. She writes about ways to shift from a busy, “stressed out” existence — to an authentic “stress-less” soul style. She loves to share methods to let go of chaos and embrace a simpler, more soulful life. Learn more at www.moresoulplease.com

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the perfect handbag. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

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