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Asking The Heavy Question: Quality or Quantity?

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Asking The Heavy Question: Quality or Quantity?

Quality or quantity is one of the most discussed quandaries amongst us when deciding what’s more important in our lives. Whether you side with quality over quantity or vice versa, what exactly motivates us to rationalise choosing between the two?

Is it better to opt for an all-you-can-eat buffet or go to a Michelin star restaurant that serves fine dining? Is it better to spend limited time with your partner after work every day or spend the whole weekend doing something together? Is it better to have 10 pairs of cheap jeans or one pair of well-made designer jeans?

While our decisions are based on particular situations at any given moment, it’s interesting to find out how our perception of defining what is best for us has changed over time.

The Evolution of Quality vs. Quantity

Since the rise of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, consumerism and the idea of quantity over quality has increased dramatically. Suddenly, having more meant being somewhat better off and showing higher status and wealth. The creation of ‘the more the better’ way of thinking fed into the minds of the consensus and so was born the idea of quantity over quality.

This can be seen in the mindset of ‘if I have more clothes, I have more choices and people will see me as rich, popular or fashionable’. It’s also seen in the perspective of believing that the more you buy for your spouse or partner, the more it shows your love for them. In other words, the short term instant gratification of giving material items is suddenly symbolic of love. Equally, the idea of getting our money’s worth is another example of the need for quantity like going to the all-you-can-eat buffet to eat as much as you can for a smaller amount of money.

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But this narrow mindset is slowly changing with people’s views of satisfaction, and what is defined as ‘the best’ has significantly hit a turning point.

The idea of minimalism and ‘less is more’ is becoming a more common way of thinking with the value and worth of something being more important than having large quantities. Spending more money on a pair of designer jeans with emphasis on the better brand and quality now instantly means this pair of jeans is better than 10 pairs of cheap jeans. Spending $100 on a Michelin star fine dining experience may mean you get less food than the $20 all-you-can-eat buffet but the value of that fine dining experience is worth more in terms of quality.

    How Has the Quality Mindset Overtaken the Quantity Mindset?

    The increase in education and literary skills together with better peace and prosperity and, therefore, stability amongst nations has meant that the generation today aren’t focused on the need for survival. In other words, there is generally a lesser worry about food, water or shelter that past generations have had to go through. Instead, people today are more exposed to the finer things in life and have the luxury to be able to focus on this.

    Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was a psychological look at human curiosity and motivation. In his theory, Maslow explains that we need to go through stages of deprivation in order to create motivation and subsequently level up. In terms of quantity and quality, acknowledging the importance of quality can only come from the experience of vast quantity and its lesser value in our lives.

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    We’ve now learnt that it’s no longer about survival (quantity) but rather how we can live well (quality).

       How Does This Impact Our Behaviours?

      The idea of quantity and quality is very situation-specific. While the idea of appreciating the concept of quality over quantity is a positive change in our society, it’s really down to our own individual preferences and what we consider best for ourselves.

      You may be someone who loves to go to the all-you-can-eat buffet because it gives you a wide variety of foods and you can eat to your heart’s content. This makes you happy and you don’t perceive it as a bad thing. Or you may be someone who loves fine dining and paying through the nose for less food because the whole experience is something that you consider ‘worth it’.

      Is it better for you to spend every day with your significant other where both of you are tired from long days at work and therefore not able to give each other undivided attention? For some, maybe, but others may feel spending a full Saturday together where you’re both rested and focusing on each other as a better option.

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      Quality and Quantity: What is the Ideal State?

      As with everything, moderation is key and this goes for the concept of quality versus quantity. The present generation are working towards a more cultivated mindset of measuring worth where quality is seen as the best option for balance and overall happiness. But it’s important to think about the circumstances in which someone find’s themselves and making the decision that best reflects that situation.

      In today’s society, peer pressure and self worth is ever more fragile due to social media and this makes it challenging for people not to play the comparison game. This means there is a conflict when it comes to certain situations around quantity and quality.

      Ideally, we ought to strike a balance of quantity and quality in different areas of our lives. The idea of quantity is good if, for example, there is a sale at the supermarket and you can stock up on needed products. Whereas, the idea of quality is positive when you spend 2 hours in a relaxing spa with your loved one and enjoying each others company rather than 2 hours every weeknight in a rushed and tired state.

        How To Strike The Best Balance

        Quality and quantity can be a very individual thing depending on what you consider your worth and value is. Only once you’ve done this can you decide which is more of a priority in any given situation. So if you feel having options is important, then quantity is good for you but if you value stability and durability then quality will carry more importance.

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        • Make a List of Your Most Important Qualities and Values: Once you’ve done this you’ll be able to see more clearly whether either quality or quantity is more aligned with your values and personal needs. Alongside this, you must also know what the sacrifices are or actions you need to take in order to achieve the quality or quantity you want. So if, for example, you value quality and want to buy that expensive watch, then ensuring you’re financially capable to do so by saving up or stop buying endless cheap watches until you have enough money to buy it.
        • Learn To Appreciate What You Have: This is an important step because playing the comparison game or feeling pressured by others can cause you stress when pursuing the idea of quality or quantity in different areas of you life. Finding out your life’s purpose and creating goals can help you find out whether quality or quantity is important to you.

        Why Finding Balance is Sometimes Hard

        If you’re struggling to know which different areas of your life involve quantity or quality, then you’re not alone.

        Often we want the best for ourselves but also the best for our loved ones which can result in conflicting notions on whether quality or quantity is more important. We may struggle giving up one thing for another – in the case of the expensive watch, sacrificing money to save up when you see affordable, cheaper watches you could potentially buy can be hard.

        However, it all comes down to priorities and being confident in your direction. Careful consideration is paramount on what your ultimate outcome is. For someone, working hard to provide the best for their family (quantity) may end up sacrificing their time with them (quality) but at the end of the day which one makes the family the most happy?

          So, think carefully about your values and ultimate outcome in each area of your life and consider whether quality or quantity is the best path in each instance. Doing this can help you plan and achieve your goals and live a happier and more content life.

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          Featured photo credit: Alexandra Maria via pexels.com

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is the Chief Editor and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert who shares tips on motivation and relationships.

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          Last Updated on April 16, 2021

          How to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward for a Happier Life

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          How to Forgive Yourself and Move Forward for a Happier Life

          When we talk about forgiveness, it’s often regarding others — forgiving your elementary school bully or the coworker who took credit for your work idea. Unfortunately, we often forget about one very important person who is also worthy of forgiveness: ourselves.

          Forgiveness is difficult in its own right. However, when we have to face the reality of forgiving ourselves, it can quickly become a (seemingly) impossible feat.

          With that being said, learning how to forgive yourself and move forward from trauma, regret, or remorse can help contribute to a healthier, happier life.

          So how to forgive yourself?

          Here are some helpful reminders and thoughts to use on your journey towards inner peace and happiness.

          Fighting Through Obstacles (Even When It Seems Impossible)

          Moving on from a debilitating life event such as a car accident or escaping a toxic relationship is not only physically draining but mentally draining as well. It’s also fair to say that we feel these effects long after said trauma or event is over, making it even more difficult to move forward.

          Moreover, it’s important to recognize that sometimes there are other barriers to treatment, besides ourselves.

          As Duquesne Nursing points out, many patients who are seeking mental health treatment end up facing a variety of obstacles when trying to receive proper treatment.[1]

          Some of these include:

          • Too costly or no health insurance coverage
          • Lack of awareness of the severity of the disorder
          • Feeling hopeless about treatment prospects
          • Concerns about confidentiality
          • Social stigma

          It’s also worth noting that these factors can be especially difficult or prevalent if you happen to live in a rural community due to the lack of available resources and medical professionals in smaller populated areas.

          However, it’s important to recognize that there are still mental health options you can (and should) utilize despite these barriers.[2]

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          Forgiveness is a battle that doesn’t have to be taken on alone, no matter where you live. Moreover, many people find healing through numerous methods such as reading, talking, or writing. Ultimately, your path towards a happier life can be paved with whatever works best for you.

          If you do happen to find yourself in a position that prevents you from visiting a mental health professional, consider these options in the meantime:

          Group Therapy

          While group therapy is not as anonymous as a private session, checking your local community center for support groups can at the very least provide you with a connection to others dealing with similar difficulties as you. You also might find that you flourish in a group setting.

          Local University Hospitals

          As Dr. Fran Walfish, a psychotherapist, tells NBC News,

          “Most qualified training hospitals have a department of psychiatry and outpatient psychology program that offers low-fee sliding scale psychotherapy.”[3]

          It’s worth visiting one nearby to see exactly what they can offer you and if it’s right for you.

          Develop Self-Care Strategies

          Forgiveness itself is self-care, but it’s also an ongoing battle. Developing useful strategies to recenter your mind, body, and spirit can help you get through some of those tough moments.

          Whether it’s learning how to meditate, working to be more mindful, or developing a relaxing nighttime routine, these practices can help ease your pain and help you refocus after an especially rough day.

          Forgiveness and the subsequent journey towards happiness is definitely an emotional roller coaster. Professional help should always be your first priority, but again, it isn’t necessarily available.

          While it can make you feel hopeless at times, know that there are always alternatives that can help you, no matter what curve balls get thrown your way.

          The Pressures (And Regrets) Within the Workplace

          Once you are able to find help on your forgiveness journey, the next challenge will be applying what you’ve learned about yourself, your pain, and how you’re going to grow from it.

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          Work can be one of the more triggering factors in your life. A lot of regret or trauma often stems from a toxic work environment, perhaps a failed project, or the general feeling of making the wrong decision at the last second.

          Furthermore, regret and remorse can happen within any career at any level. From office jobs to those in the medical field, learning how to forgive yourself has a unique set of challenges — it’s different for everyone.

          Our forgiveness (or lack thereof) can be the result of various incidents, meaning it’s difficult to explain your feelings, anxieties, and pain to others.

          For doctors, it might be the struggle to reconcile with a “never event”, or an error made during surgery.[4] For veterans, it can be the trauma of losing fellow soldiers and friends while on active duty. For those in offices, it could be dealing with the fallout (gossip, isolation, bullying) after filing a sexual harassment case. The list goes on.

          There is also the very likely circumstance that you just no longer enjoy your job or career, meaning there’s a chance it’s simply not meant for you. But that doesn’t make you a failure, it just means you’re destined for something else.

          Holding Yourself Back Might Be the Problem

          Furthermore, holding yourself back from that something else could be the thing standing in your way of a happier life, inside and outside of work.

          As USC Applied Psychology aptly explains,

          “Passion not only drives you to enjoy your work but helps in overcoming obstacles in the workplace as well. Anytime you hit a bump in the road or begin to doubt your abilities, remember the positive effects of the work you are doing.”[5]

          In life, we only get so many chances to follow our happiness and our dreams. Granted, we might lose sight of that goal at times, and that’s when those dark feelings can begin to creep in. But ultimately, our lives can only get better if we forgive our mistakes and learn from them.

          Life is all about trial and error, and it’s okay if you don’t get it right the first, second, or third try. The most important thing is to never give up or stop trying because you’re afraid of regret or making a mistake.

          Growth comes in all forms, and that includes forgiveness.

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          Besides, it is never too late to start over. Here’s the proof.

          Finding Forgiveness Amidst Grief

          When we lose a loved one — a parent, an ex-partner, even a pet — it can be tempting to put some blame on yourself. Part of the grieving process should include mourning the loss and moving forward, with them forever in your heart.

          However, when we fall into the trap of blame and regret, we end up robbing ourselves of the chance to appreciate our time, memories, and experiences we had with our loved ones who have passed.

          This makes the loss of them even harder to bear. It’s a difficult cycle to break and can lead to some serious mental health issues, like depression and anxiety.

          Moreover, forgiving yourself in the face of death is without a doubt tough. It’s okay to be a work in process, especially considering that the loss of a loved one is an event that will stick with you forever.

          Of course, that’s all the more reason to begin learning how to forgive yourself and move forward. Acknowledging and accepting your mistakes doesn’t make you unworthy of forgiveness.

          Losing a pet to a car accident or house fire doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad owner. Your dog or cat loved you dearly, and although their untimely death is unfortunate and heartbreaking, the best way to honor your pet is to own your mistake, learn from it, and forgive yourself.

          When dealing with the loss of a loved one due to addiction or suicide, it’s important to remove yourself from the situation as a factor in their death. Sometimes, we simply cannot stop people from making their own choices, no matter how bad the consequences are.

          Furthermore, many of us desperately want our loved one(s) to get better, to seek help, but if they don’t that’s not on you.

          While it might feel like you’re betraying those who have passed away by trying to forgive yourself and move on, you’re actually doing what’s necessary to take care of your mental and physical health. You deserve to be healthy and although it may take a while, you deserve to be happy as well.

          Things You Can Do After a Loss

          Practicing important grief strategies is one way you can begin coping with death and begin the forgiveness process. The American Psychological Association (APA) tell us,

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          “Everyone reacts differently to death and employs personal coping mechanisms for grief. Research shows that most people can recover from a loss on their own through the passage of time if they have social support and healthy habits.”[6]

          They go on to list so methods worth implementing after a loss:

          • Talk about the death of your loved one. Instead of isolating yourself or denying the death outright, speak about your loss with your support system. This can help you process the loss and begin moving forward.
          • Accept your feelings. All of your feelings are valid and it’s okay to feel them. You aren’t weak or guilty because of your emotions.
          • Take care of yourself and your family. You can grieve for those who have passed while also making sure to take care of the living.
          • Reach out and help others dealing with the loss. Helping others has been shown to make us feel better and by sharing your stories you can form new, lasting bonds with others affected by a loss.
          • Remember and celebrate the lives of your loved ones. APA recommends, “donating to a favorite charity of the deceased, framing photos of fun times, passing on a family name to a baby, or planting a garden in memory. What you choose is up to you, as long as it allows you to honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you.”[7]

          While the grieving process might be messy, complicated, and certainly frustrating at times, if you can learn how to forgive yourself, you will only grow stronger. Remember good can come from even the darkest of times.

          Final Thoughts

          When we force ourselves to hold onto the past — past mistakes, regrets, pain — we end up missing out on a lot of the positive things life has to offer. It’s important to keep in mind that you are not alone and it’s okay to hurt and reflect on certain aspects within your life.

          However, it isn’t worth losing valuable time, relationships, health, and emotional energy over. Instead, amid grief or remorse, as difficult as it might be, working towards inner peace will ultimately serve you much better.[8]

          Moreover, a person who is at peace with themselves will reap some benefits, such as:

          • Increased acceptance of yourself and self-actualization
          • Increased emotional maturity
          • The ability to live in and enjoy the present more
          • A deeper capacity for love (towards others and yourself)
          • A better sense of inner strength and power
          • More patience and compassion
          • Increased self-esteem
          • Freedom from stress and anxieties
          • A stronger sense of inner happiness
          • A better understanding of forgiveness

          Achieving inner peace, especially in the face of difficulties and trauma, takes a lot of work and practice. However, the rewards are certainly worth the effort as you begin to grow as an individual, learn forgiveness towards others and yourself, and begin viewing life through a more positive lens.

          You don’t need to forget your past experiences; rather, use them as a vehicle towards a greater, healthier life. You are worthy and your past doesn’t define you. It simply molds you.

          Once you understand and can come to terms with that, the possibilities of happiness will open up and you can begin moving forward in life.

          It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

          Learn How to Forgive Yourself

          Featured photo credit: Havilah Galaxy via unsplash.com

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