Gratitude Vs. Desire: Finding Balance

Ever since one of the Get Out Of Your Own Way students asked me a question that inspired†this post, Iíve been pondering how we can balance feeling grateful for what is, while simultaneously inviting ourselves to tap into our deepest desires.

I asked my friend†Dana Theus what she thought about that question and I loved her answer so much I want to share it here.

Take it away Dana!

Gratitude for what we have and desire for the future are not opposites. They are two states we can feel simultaneously just like we can eat dinner – appreciating sauteed fish – at the same time we think about the yummy oatmeal we’re planning for breakfast.

But this is only true – we can only experience them simultaneously – if we can actually appreciate the fish we’re eating right now. If we can’t, then we’re always hating the present and using our vision of what may feel like an inaccessible future state to make ourselves more unhappy with the present.

The thing to do is to realize that the present is ALL WE ACTUALLY HAVE. If we’re going to be happy or sad, it will be based on the present moment. Desire for the future plays a different role. It gives us hope and is fun to think about, plus it is critically important to help us tap into our purpose and understand what we care about so that we can better direct our energies today and tomorrow towards something that fills us with excitement.


Thus, we can’t actually enjoy it. We can’t hold it and have it. Even when we attach to it, this just makes us more cognizant that it is not real and creates a gap in our lives that isn’t really even there.† Until we learn to be satisfied, content and grateful for what we actually have, we cannot ever be happy in real time and thus our dreams can never come true.

If we’re not happy with our current life and situation, then we need to be intentional about changing it until we are happy with it – but the “comparison stick” isn’t some abstract future desire that isn’t even real; it’s what constitutes our life right now.

Isnít that so true? You rock, Dana!

For those who struggle with this, Dana and I came up with a few tips to help you find your balance.

5 Tips For Simultaneously Appreciating Your Life While Still Desiring More

  • Express gratitude for whatís awesome in your life every day. Keep a gratitude journal. As Mama Gena says, ďUnexpressed blessings turn to shit.Ē
  • Ask yourself these three daily questions suggested by my friend Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
    • What moved me today?
    • What inspired me today?
    • What touched my heart today?
  • Live each day without regret. Donít wait until tomorrow to do what you long to do today.
  • Give yourself permission to dream big, but only after getting clear on what you appreciate about your life.
  • Set goals but then release attachment to outcomes. Desire more but surrender to Divine will. If itís not meant to happen, donít attach all your expectations on achieving a goal that might not be for the highest good. If your big dreams become an excuse not to live fully in the present and feel happy in the moment, theyíll only hold you back.

What do you think? How can we balance desiring more and still being happy in the moment? Tell us what you think!

Dreaming big & appreciating what we have,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of†,†motivational speaker, and author of†Whatís Up Down There? Questions Youíd Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.

Dana Theus:†InPower Leadership Coaching – take back your power to change the world

Learn more about†Lissa Rankin here.



Krista R.
krista b6 years ago

great info. thanks for sharing. :-)

Akin Adelakun
Akin Adelakun6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam6 years ago

thanks for the article.

Deborah C.
Deborah C6 years ago

Thanks for article.

Deborah C.
Deborah C6 years ago

Thanks for article.

Arandeep D.
Arandeep D6 years ago

Excellent article!!! Great food for thought!!! Lissa, thanks for sharing. I will certainly share it with family & friends.

Parvez Z.
Parvez Zuberi6 years ago

thanks for sharing a very good article

Shell S.
Past Member 6 years ago

Needed this. Thank you : )

Pollyn L.
Pollyn Chan6 years ago

Good article, thank you.

Dana A6 years ago

I loved this article...gratitude attitude is what its all about!