One of the most common reasons people give for feeling unhappy in their life is the thought that they simply don’t have enough money. If the money you currently have could assume a human form and talk to you, what might it say? If you're like most people, it would probably say something like this: "You never appreciate me. All you ever do is complain about how I'm never enough. You're always worrying about how I might let you down in the future, or might leave you. I don't feel like you trust me at all. And after all I do for you! I'm always getting things for you, protecting you, entertaining you, and making your life easier--but do I ever get a heart-felt thank you? Nooooo!" If we treated our mate the way we "relate" to money, he or she wouldn't want to hang around us!

Trying to get “enough” money can be like trying to fill a gigantic bowl in which, no matter how much stuff you put into the bowl, it never fills up. We put a Mercedes in the bowl, a new house, a boat, but it never seems full for more than a few minutes. The reason the bowl never fills up is because it has a big leak in the bottom! Whatever we manage to get and put into our lives, like a bowl with a leak, it quickly runs out. We are soon left completely empty.

The bowl represents our desires. We keep trying to fill this leaking bowl, enticed by television ads and movies that tell us if we only had (fill in the blank), then we'd finally be full-filled. But because the bowl has a major leak in the bottom, we never get to the place where we feel we have enough. When people start having some material success, it can sometimes trigger an even bigger leak in the bowl of desires. So begins the endless cycle of never feeling really satisfied. The ability to feel thankful for what we have right now is one way to plug up the leak in the bottom of our bowl of endless desires. By feeling grateful for the things in your life, a whole new energy and experience is created. People often pursue money for years just so they can have a few moments of feeling satisfied. Yet, the practice of gratitude can make us feel rich faster than any "get-rich-quick" scheme ever invented. After all, if you feel thankful for what you have, you're immediately rich! But if you have millions and don't appreciate it, then you're eternally poor.

Perhaps you're thinking it would be easy to feel grateful if you only had some more money. If only, if only--the curse of the modern mind. If you own a car, you are automatically in the top 7 percent of wealth in the world. If you don't feel grateful for being in the top 7 percent of wealth, being in the top 2 percent won't make much difference. The truth is that you and I live better today than kings lived just one hundred years ago! We are blessed with being able to go to the grocery store and choose from 20,000 food items. We're blessed with inexpensive ways to enjoy music, read books, be entertained, talk to people on the phone, and even travel to distant lands. There's a lot we can feel grateful for--if we don't fall into the pothole of "if only" thinking.

I've learned that the discipline of gratitude begins by appreciating whatever you currently have--even if part of you doesn't like it. In my own battle with the "not enough" trap, I learned some tools that immediately helped me convert my feelings of scarcity to feelings of abundance and thankfulness. As I mentioned previously, an effective method is to simply ask yourself the question, "What could I feel grateful for?" When I began this practice, I came up with just intellectual answers. Yet over time, I've been able to tune into the actual feeling of deep gratitude for the many wonderful things in my life. Gratitude is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. The more I've meditated on this question, the easier it has been feeling truly grateful, and less caught up in the trap of “if-only” thinking.

A second approach I've used in order to feel grateful is to compare myself to people less fortunate than I am. Years ago, when I was in a serious auto accident, I remember wondering if I had become paralyzed. As my hands and feet responded to my thoughts, I was overcome with gratitude. Several other people in the car were not so fortunate. Each day I still take time to feel great thankfulness for the use of my limbs. Many people have found it helpful to keep a “gratitude journal” in which they list five things they are grateful for each day. A daily practice such as this is useful for calming the mind and awakening an inner sense of abundance. By feeling grateful for what you already have, you can greatly reduce the time you spend worrying. Feeling at peace and okay in the world is what real wealth is all about.

Author's Bio: 

Jonathan Robinson, M.A., M.F.T. Is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of nine books, and a professional speaker from Northern California. He has reached over 250 million people around the world with his practical methods, and his work has been translated into 47 languages. Articles about Jonathan have appeared in USA TODAY, Newsweek, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as dozens of other publications. In addition, Mr. Robinson has made numerous appearances on the Oprah show and CNN, as well as other national TV talk shows. He has spent over 35 years studying the most practical and powerful methods for personal and professional development.

Mr. Robinson’s first book, “The Experience of God,” included interviews with such notable people as the late Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, Scott Peck, and over 30 other well-known seekers. Jonathan’s second book, “Life’s Big Questions,” became a New York Times bestseller, as did his book “Communication Miracles for Couples.” Mr. Robinson’s other books include: Instant Insight; Real Wealth; Shortcuts to Bliss; Shortcuts to Success, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Awakening Your Spirituality, and Terror Proof Your Mind and Money.

As a professional speaker, Mr. Robinson has spoken to many of the Fortune 500 companies. He is known for providing his audiences with immediately useful and powerful information, presented in an entertaining and motivating manner.