Can You Create Abundance While Accepting What You Have?

Abundance and achievement, or acceptance of the present? Thinking about having to choose one or the other is a false dichotomy that obstructs most people from making progress in their lives. You want to experience abundance, achieve goals, and realize your deepest dreams. Yet at the same time, you want to experience joy and peace within your current situation.

On some level, many people think that in order to be happy all desires must be exterminated and radical acceptance of the present must occur to find true happiness. Any desire for change in the future is seen as a threat to derail that happiness.

On the other hand, it can sometimes feel like accepting the present, when you really know you want something different, is complacent and apathetic. If in your heart there is no question that you want something to change within your life, but you’re denying it because you’re supposed to be happy “where you are” or “with what you have”, then you’re always going to feel like you’re settling.

But do we really have to choose between the two?

Do abundance and sufficiency really have to clash?

I don’t think so. I think they can coexist. In fact, I think that you’re always going to feel fragmented if they don’t.

I’ve spent a lot of time chasing goals while being continually dissatisfied with where I was, and even when I achieved those goals, it was on to the next thing nearly immediately. So I was always pushing the present away, seeing it as something to just churn through to reach some other future. I was always left feeling empty.

I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to accept where I am. I’ve experienced immense happiness and then beat myself up for wanting something else because I thought I was supposed to be supremely content with “what is.”

The first thing to realize is that if in your life, in your current situation, you don’t like “what is,” that’s okay. That may be your current “truth.” But realize that it’s only the truth because you created it. It can and will change.

Once you accept that the present can and should change (nothing is stagnant), then you realize that acceptance is the doorway to your desires and the doorway to abundance.

In the present, accept your desires. Desires aren’t meant to cause you suffering or torment you because what you want is not here right now. They’re meant to pull you in a new direction and shift the present moment into something new and exciting. Something that, yes, in-the-present you can accept and be happy with.

The true nature of desire

You are not meant to stomp out your desire to try to be content. You are meant to radically embrace your desires. They are the unfolding of you, and what makes you incredibly unique. Embracing your path right now (sufficiency) is actually the path to abundance itself.

You don’t have to choose abundance or sufficiency. But you can never experience abundance without first feeling sufficient, because without that rootedness you will always be experiencing a shortage. If your desires feel like a shortage, like they are pulling you away from being content, it’s because you see them as making your current reality incomplete.

They don’t. They are an unfolding of what is already whole. Your desires spiral out from the core of who you are, always remaining connected to it.

At least, that’s the way they should be if you’re in touch with what you really want. If they take you away from that core then they’re someone else’s desires; you’re trying to follow someone else’s path.

But if your desires feel good, and then make you feel guilty, it’s a good sign that you’re feeling a false conflict between accepting the present and accepting your journey. They are in fact, two ends of one spectrum. Always dancing together to create a beautiful life experience.

So, yes you can have both. The core of sufficiency is the completeness of who you are right now. You are always whole and always unabridged. Once you realize that, the radical accept of that allows the abundance of your desires to flow and spiral out from that, continually expanding and evolving.

This is something that I’ve struggled with personally for a long time to figure out, and I hope that it helps you find more acceptance and abundance within your own life.

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Comment & Add Your Voice

Alex Blackwell October 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Perfect timing regarding this post Jonathan – especially after the conversation we just had.

I have created my current truth, my reality, and I’m now looking forward to creating a new one. When I do, there’s no question abundance will be waiting.

Alex

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Jason Dudley October 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I think this is probably one of the most important topics in the arena of self development. I am certain many people struggle with this false dichotomy, myself included and this post has given me a new way to frame this internal conflict.

Cheers Jonathan

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Tracy Chapman October 20, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Feels like it was written exactly for me. :)

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Jay October 20, 2010 at 8:51 pm

I’ve struggled with the balance between accepting the present and achieving my goals as well, so your post was illuminating. Great exploration of how these concepts can actually work together.

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nikki factor October 20, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Thanks for the post. I am really really enlightened. :)

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Micki McNie October 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Well said. I was just exploring this idea myself as it relates to paying bills today vs. pursuing dreams of the future. Another example of how we get stuck in either/or thinking and limit ourselves.

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Annie Stith October 21, 2010 at 2:53 am

Hey, Jonathan!

Wow. I’ve been having such a hard time accepting my present. In my head, I know that I created it, and I can even see some of the reasons I did. But I’m so unhappy with it that it’s hard to accept in my heart and Spirit. Most days in the past year I’ve been bedridden. Who would want to accept that?

And then I read:

“They [abundance and sufficiency] are an unfolding of what is already whole. Your desires spiral out from the core of who you are, always remaining connected to it.”

You put it in such a way that, not only did my head get it, but my heart and Spirit answered “YES!”

Thank you so much, Jonathan, for your inspirational messages here on your blog. This is not the first that’s touched me so, but I would have to say it’s one of the ones I needed most to hear.

Annie

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Chandra October 21, 2010 at 9:58 am

Thank you SO much for this very insightful, helpful article. I have been struggling with this very thing for SO long now — thinking I *should* be content with all the blessings already in my life, yet always yearning, always restless, always just a little dissatisfied about unreached desires/goals. This has put things into perspective for me and I believe I shall be far better able to be content with now AND strive to achieve my goals and dreams. Again, thank you!!

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Duff October 21, 2010 at 1:50 pm

While I agree there is a false dichotomy, or rather false binary between “abundance” and “acceptance,” I think there are also numerous false attempted integrations. For instance, it’s difficult for me to differentiate the conclusions in this post from the message of the movie The Secret, wherein numerous self-help and pop spiritual guru types proclaimed that one can have it all (especially money, fame, and success) through the mechanism of being grateful for what you have now and wanting it hard enough.

I think a more fruitful approach is to break up the binary, rather than integrate the poles. For instance, what kind of acceptance is it to deny the parts of myself that want to achieve things? If I want some sort of state of acceptance, isn’t that something I must at first strive for? If I get what I want, what do I want through that (and through that, and through that…) that’s even more important…and when I reach that ultimate state of Being, what do I want then, and how do my desires change spontaneously in response?

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Graeme October 23, 2010 at 11:38 am

I think that this is a really good response to what is currently on Think Simple Now’s blog. Nicely put, Jonathan.

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Lach October 24, 2010 at 4:13 am

There is apparently an ancient Persian curse that goes something like:

“May all your deepest desires be instantaneously fulfilled.”

That’s right — it’s a curse. It recognises that true happiness isn’t having everything that you want. True happiness is eternally moving toward what you want, while you continue to develop new desires. It’s a process; not a destination. It’s being in the flow of life.

I totally get what you meant by the dissatisfaction of trying to “churn through the present” in order to reach some future point. I’ve certainly spent a lot of time in that place, and it’s no fun at all. The cure is, as you say, learning to love the unfolding. Being excited about where your headed, but doing it for the trill of the journey rather than some eventual destination.

Great Jonathan. One of my favourite IM articles, for sure.

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JC POLO October 26, 2010 at 10:35 am

I think you really made a point here. All we have to do is remember to accept ourselves, and our desires are part of ourselves.

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Gerald November 11, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks so much for this! :)

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tariq - The Vantage Journey December 2, 2010 at 7:20 am

Hi Jonathan,

Thank you for sharing such a nice post here. I can really relate it to my own life.God really wants us to learn to accept our present for us to achieve our dreams and goals.:)
Hope to have more inspirational words from you. Thank you again.

Cheers!

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CommKr8veWriter November 12, 2011 at 1:12 am

“You are meant to radically embrace your desires.” I completely agree. I also agree that abundance and accepting what you have coincide, but there’s a fine line – I think it falls on the definition of abundance. Abundance may not necessarily mean constantly being productive, constantly creating and working to achieve abundance in productivity, in material possessions, in projects, etc – abundance can relate to anything. An abundance of love, support, balance. There are also varying forms of acceptance. If you are unhappy and “accept” that as life, nothing’s going to change, but if you accept who you are, your passions, your desires and go after them, you’ll lead a happier life and will have abundance in all the things that you need.

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CoachLowell December 31, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I appreciate this post, Jonathan. Over the years I’ve learned that resisting my current circumstance seems to set up a pull that inhibits me from achieving what I prefer. But noticing my current undesirable circumstance and finding a way to accept it seems to allow what I prefer to occur. One way I test whether I’ve let go of the resistance is to ask myself, “if I had to live with this the rest of my life, could I?” Surprising as it may seem, my honest answer is often “yes”.

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