The old cliché “be content!” People,religious houses and more shout from the rooftops.. Which they do not practice… ha ha ha. very difficult journey, fleeting moments we can catch the odd feeling of contentment but briefly its experienced and gone like a wind and we are left longing and looking for that moment we just had, wondering how to hold on to it for a much longer time if it ever comes again… so we turn to external things just to feed our discontentment…
I have been reflecting on this topic for a few weeks and have decided to use myself as a lab rat and share my thoughts and experiences…
Generally I am never satisfied I strive and feel that I need more to be happy… The media, culture and society do not help they encourage us to get and have more things to be content… wherever you turn you are bombarded with adverts through TV, radio, social media, internet, phones… no getting away from it phew!
Most of us feel like this most times, thinking that once we get that dream relationship, husband, job, business, promotion, kids, pay all our debts, kids leave the nest… then finally the good old adage called “Happiness” will shine upon us… is that true?
Contentment! Complacency should also be differentiated so we don’t get them confused…
Being content means that you don’t need more to be happy. Everything that you need at this moment you have. It is a drastic shift from what we are taught. , but somehow over generations the desire for more has overcome being content.
Complacency is different from being content. Being complacent is similar to being lazy. Often when we get upset with our current situation, but refuse to work to improving, we are being complacent. A complacent individual is never working to reach their potential because they feel that it is pointless and so they just go through the motions and do the minimum, always blaming external things for their shortcomings.
In a nutshell Contentment is to feel peace with the current state you are in, regardless of circumstances. Complacency is to grow numb to it and accept it and abandon ambition for change. Got that?
What is the secret to contentment?
(1) Gratitude. Yes our good old fashion mode of gratitude so you can find inner peace on this earth… being content without gratitude is absolutely impossible both words go together, inseparable I say…
When we are grateful we focus on the positive side of things… glass is always half full no matter our circumstances, changing our perspective does make things easier but it requires time and practice… it’s good to always make a daily list of things that are going well in our lives… there is always something good no matter how bad the situation is, the fact we woke up this morning, healthy, a roof over our head, we can eat and so much more the list is endless… doing this gratitude exercise on a daily basis will undoubtedly shift our focus to the many good things we already have.
(2) Stop putting your happiness on hold.
I shout this one from the rooftops If you engage in a “when and then thinking” like when I get blah, blah, blah then I will be happy… try and remember happiness is in the moment not reliant on external things or circumstances.. Happiness is a moment to moment choice a life lesson to learn.
(3) Break the habit of satisfying discontentment with acquisitions.
We have an ingrained belief that we can satisfy our discontentment with material things…. Quite the opposite I say… couple of examples… if we are not satisfied with our wardrobe? Go buy new clothes. Not content with our car? Go buy a new one. We have reached that stage to satisfy our discontentment with more money…
We must break that habit. Understand that material possessions will never fully satisfy the desires of our heart (that’s why discontent always returns). The next time we recognize discontentment surfacing in our life, refuse to give into that bad habit. Instead, commit to better understand ourselves and why the lack of that item is causing discontent. Only after we intentionally break this habit will true contentment begin to surface.
(4) Stop trying to catch rainbows, keep up with the Joneses or compare yourself to others.
Comparing your life with someone else’s will always lead to discontentment. There will always be people who “appear” to be better off than you and seemingly living the perfect life (pictures on social media like Facebook are mostly illusions). But note, we always compare the worst of what we know about ourselves to the best assumptions that we make about others. Their life is never as perfect as your mind makes it out to be. You are unique. You are special. And it’s always better that way.
(5) Help others.
When you begin helping others, sharing your talents, time and money, you will find yourself learning to be content. The practice will give you a finer appreciation for what you own, who you are, and what you have to offer.
(6) be content with what you have, never with what you are.
Never stop learning, growing, or discovering. Take pride in your personhood and the progress that you have made, but never become so content that you cannot find room for improvement..
Food for thought
You need to learn the art of contentment. Being content is not being driven by always wanting more. I know that ambition is a prized trait in our society. I am not saying that ambition is wrong. What I am saying is that the constant striving for more and not enjoying what you have or where you are at the moment will drive you crazy. Things do and will change. Have the attitude that they will change for the better. That can co-exist with being content. Also remember contentment is not the same as complacency cause as soon as you stop growing or improving yourself, you start dying.
Till next time…