“Can you fix it with money? If the answer is yes, then it is not really a problem.”
A family friend told me this many years ago, before I was really old enough to understand the meaning behind it. Of course, there are many people for whom lack of money poses real problems — leading to lack of things like safe housing, food, and adequate healthcare — things that are absolutely necessary for life.
The sentiment behind this statement, however, holds an important message.
We often miss the blessings in our life because we’re so focused on what is wrong or missing.
We forget to be glad that we woke up without pain, because we take it for granted that will always be the case for us. We take our health for granted because we’ve never experienced what a serious illness can do to our functioning. We miss out on spending time with family and friends because it feels like they will always be around.
Instead, we look at all the ways our lives fall short: not enough free time to binge-watch our favorite shows, not enough “grand gestures” of love from our significant others to make us feel special, having to get the car fixed resulting in the budget being a bit tight this month.
“Real” problems are those things we would give any amount of money to fix, but don’t have the option to do so.
Coming out of the holiday season, we’ve been bombarded with messages about all of the things we need to make our lives satisfying- new furniture, better toys for our kids, more stylish clothes- and it can often make us feel that our lives aren’t measuring up. As you move into 2018, I challenge you to use try measuring and valuing things differently, regardless of whether they come with a price tag or not.
Molly Halbrooks, LMFT