Do you ever feel guilty for wanting more?
- “You should be grateful to even have one client in this economy.”
- “This isn’t the time to raise your prices. Just be happy with what you’re making now.”
- “I can’t believe you’re thinking of buying another pair of Gianvito Rossi heels. We’re in the middle of a recession!”
If you’re honest with yourself, the critics have a point. Just the fact that you’re reading this means that you have an internet connection. A roof over your head. Food on the table. All things so many people on the planet don’t have. You should feel grateful for what you have. Instead, you feel guilty for wanting more.
Why can’t you just make do with what you have? Why do you always have to want more, more, more? I’m a huge fan of being grateful for what you already have in your life. But gratitude isn’t an excuse to settle.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate what I mean:
Being Grateful Doesn’t Mean Settling
In 2015, I moved to London to pursue a career as a freelance writer. At the time, I couldn’t think of anything better than getting paid to write all day long. Within a year and a half, I had a steady stream of clients and was making enough money to quit my side gig as a personal assistant… And I was crying myself to sleep every night.
I HATED being a freelance writer…
I’ve never felt more guilty in my life. Here I was, living in my dream city and making money from my biggest passion – something that most people only dream about…
…and I still wasn’t happy.
- So what if I didn’t like the type of articles I was commissioned?
- So what if my clients were calling me in the middle of the night to fix a typo in a blog post they had published months ago?
- So what if I had to constantly chase late invoices?
I was still pursuing my passion, so shouldn’t I be grateful for it and forget about all the things that were making me unhappy? Except, I couldn’t. Because being grateful for all the sucky parts of that business meant settling for a life that didn’t light me up.
Real gratitude is about appreciating what you have, not settling for what you don’t want.
Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty For Wanting More
Guilt kept me stuck in my freelance writing business too long. I told myself that I already had more than most people had, that it was selfish to want anything more.
You know what? It’s selfish NOT to want anything more.
During those months that I forced myself to suck it up and be grateful for a business and life I didn’t want anymore, I was miserable… and I made everyone around me miserable.
- I brought the stress home and was short-tempered with my partner.
- I started to slacken on the job and deliver lower-quality articles a few minutes before the deadlines ended.
- Whenever I met up with a friend, I spent the entire evening ranting about how awful my clients were.
How was that helping anyone?!
It wasn’t helping my relationships. My partner and friends were pretty fed up with me and my constant temper. It wasn’t helping my clients. They had hired me for a job and I wasn’t doing it that well anymore. It certainly wasn’t helping all those people who didn’t have the opportunity to pursue their passion. They were still stuck in a miserable job. And now, I had joined them, too.
We act like there’s a limited amount of success, opportunities, and wealth in the world. As if pursuing your passion means that you’re taking that chance away from someone else.
That’s a lie.
The More You Have, The More You Can Give
You not going for your business goals and not making the money you desire doesn’t help anyone else. You’re all just miserable together. But when you stop settling and go after what you really want, you inspire others to do the same.
When you quit your soul-sucking 9-5 job to go full time in your business and scale, you show others what’s possible for them, too.
When you make more money, you can employ more people and give them their dream job, send your kids to a better school, and donate more cash to a charity close to your heart.
When you’re happy and satisfied in your life, you’re spreading positivity and good vibes to everyone you meet.
Asking for more than what you have – especially when you don’t like what you have – isn’t selfish. It’s the only way to improve your life and, as a result, help others do the same.
You Can Be Grateful And Want More At The Same Time
Feeling grateful for what you have and wanting more aren’t mutually exclusive. You can totally feel them both at the same time.
Back when I was working as a freelance writer, I was grateful for the opportunity to pursue my passion, the clients who allowed me to pay my bills, and all those hours I spent writing. I was even grateful for the lesson that experience taught me: following your passion alone isn’t enough to feel fulfilment. There are other pieces, like values and life purpose, that you need to take into consideration when figuring out what business to build.
But, I still wanted more. Because without that desire, you stagnate. You don’t evolve. You’ll never fulfil your full potential. And so, I went for more. I quit freelance writing and started my coaching business – a business that allows me to make the impact I want to make in the world and live the lifestyle I want to live.
Are there still parts of the job I don’t enjoy much? Of course. I could do without accounting, for example. But now I know that frustration is a reason to find a solution to the problem (for example, I could hire an accountant or ask my partner to help with that side of the business), not an excuse to suck it up and settle.
TAKE ACTION NOW
What are you currently frustrated or unhappy about?
- Take a few minutes to be grateful for what you’re feeling. Even if you don’t enjoy that feeling, there’s something to learn from this experience.
- What could you do to remove this frustration from your life? Could you delegate it to someone? Could you remove the cause? What other solution is possible. Make a list.
- Pick one solution from the list and do it.
- Feel grateful you’ve found a solution and you can experience more of what you want (and less of what you don’t).
Gratitude and desire go hand in hand. Feel grateful for everything – good and bad – you have in your life AND trust your desires enough to follow them wherever they lead you. No one benefits when you stay stuck in a situation you don’t enjoy.
Wrapping It Up
Feeling guilty for wanting more only gets you to settle for a mediocre life you don’t deserve. Feel grateful for what you have and give yourself permission to want more – and the go get it.