Is luxury exclusive and reserved only for the elite?
Is it something we can experience ‘one day’ or only on special occasions?
Is it something we must work hard for to feel as if we deserve?
The readily-available images on social media nowadays highlight further social inequality. To millions of people around the world most of us reading this already live in luxury, so why are we not realising this? Are our brains and society designed to always want more and to compare with others who have more than us?
These images of luxury actually say so much more….to me they evoke feelings of peacefulness, tranquility, calm, having lots of time, comfort, mindfulness, freedom……do we need an expensive yacht, car or holiday to experience these things? Absolutely not.
Here are 5 things I consider luxury in 2016:
This is seriously under-appreciated in life nowadays. An opportunity to take a new job with great pay but long working hours, doing a bit of over-time here and there to get some extra money. I know since I became self-employed that if an opportunity arose for me to take on more students, even though I already had enough, I would calculate how much money I would lose (even though I never had it in the first place) and would find it so hard to say ‘no’. But I would remind myself that at the end of the week I would have more time to myself and this is something on which I could not put a monetary value. I also found that whatever money I used to earn I was fully capable of spending. So surely this could be used to our advantage? If you want less then you don’t have to work all those extra hours and that time could be spent with friends and family and doing what you really want to do in life. It is too easy to say ‘I would but I just don’t have the time’. I find I can say this when it comes to going to the gym but when it comes to watching crap tv I can always, without failure find time. Either we want to do something or we don’t, start putting your dreams into action or scrap them!
This exercise helped me find what is really important to me: Core Values
Instructions: After completing the first page of questions, turn to the next few pages of core values. Circle all that you feel apply to you (plus add more if you feel it necessary). Then try to group them into 3-5 groups e.g. certainty and security would go together. After this put the groups in order of which are most important to you. Then make a list of all the things you want to do, be and have in life. Ask yourself ‘do the things in this list reflect your core values?’ Are your core values related to working on relationships in your life and keeping fit when in reality you are spending every waking hour at work? Maybe your core values lie outside your family and friends and this is ok too. But if what you are doing is not in accordance with your core values you cannot be happy.
Education via the internet is a huge luxury, and one which for many of us, even our grandparents weren’t able to enjoy. It can open our minds and we can finally easily educate ourselves about things we were not taught in school or by our parents and which we are really interested in. Part time courses are readily available if we wish to continue to work as well as learn. A few generations ago we did not know the harmful effects of the legal drugs around us (tobacco, chemicals in our cupboards, excessive sugar, caffeine and alcohol) and it was difficult for us to know where our clothing or food was made. There was no easy way to find out how we are being lied to, cheated and used by those who are supposed to be protecting us. Through self-education can free ourselves. Connecting with ourselves (to FULLY listen to our thoughts and emotions rather than ignoring them) and with the world (realising we are all connected and do not need to fight, judge or change anything) is a great first step to a higher awareness and can be achieved in many ways including yoga, meditation and psychedelic drugs.
As great an educator as the internet is, it can also bring with it more pressures and control. Images and advertising all around us, telling us we must spend money, look and live differently in order to be happy are almost impossible to avoid. We may think we are free but we are being influenced on a daily basis by a consumer society, media and those around us. Life is so loud in fact that it can be difficult to listen to what we really want. Do we really need 20 pairs of shoes, an expensive car and an important job to be happy? Or is that just what we’ve always known from those around us? If we take the time to listen to what we really want from life, we may find that it is different to what others around us want and might result in us having more extra cash at the end of the month and a load of extra time!
If we feel controlled by others around us it may be useful to think about how we are controlling others. We may not realise we are doing it but if we are wanting someone to be different in some way, we are trying to control them and we cannot be happy or satisfied. The only way to feel free from control is to adjust the way we interpret others’ behaviour (or to stay away from that person). By truly accepting those around us WITHOUT exception.
We can exercise for free (we do not need to drive to a gym to run on a treadmill unless we really want to!). We can educate ourselves on good diet and exercise, about how food can prevent us from illness. We live in a society where many chronic illness are actually preventable or curable by just eating right. We can work on our mental health by living a healthy lifestyle, connecting with ourselves and following our heart as above. By doing these things we can prevent ourselves from living on medication which saves us money, gives us a longer fuller life (time) and gives us freedom from relying on health care.
5. The full realisation of just how great life is
Bearing in mind all of the above, we can be satisfied with what we have, accepting how much we work (or don’t), and start to feel grateful for everything we have without comparing to others. We can get perspective in life and realise just how lucky we are.
Gratitude is the key to happiness. 2 years ago I started writing an email to myself each morning of 10 things I’m grateful for. Even if some days you can only write, I am alive, my friends and family are well, this is still something amazing to be grateful for and something EVERYONE can achieve.
How lovely would it be if we could wake up and feel happy about who we are and how we look today.