What is contentment exactly? Contentment is being satisfied with what we have and where we are in life, no matter the circumstances, no matter what.
Yeah…I’m not there yet. Not even close!
I think all of us desire to be happy in this life but sometimes, at least for me, I find myself believing that if I had more, I would be happier! If that was true, then people with the most would be the happiest. Fortunately, we don’t have to look far to see that is just not reality. So knowing this to be true, I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to pursue contentment rather than happiness. Happiness is fleeting. It is here for a moment then gone the next. It is different from contentment because while happiness usually requires something external to fuel itself, contentment is derived from within. Being content takes constant work and the constant reminder to yourself of the things you do have, and being appreciative for them. For me, I have to go out of my way to do this. Through my everyday, there is apart of me that wants and desires more, either more stuff, a better job, or just more out of life in general. And that’s not a bad thing. I think it’s good to be thinking of ways to improve the quality of life. But it is the desire of wanting more that makes me unsatisfied with what I do have. I have to force myself to convince myself I don’t need more and having more, is not what I need. Finding contentment is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do because it requires tricking the mind into believing something that is completely contrary to everything we have learned and thought we knew. We live in a world where wanting more is hardwired into American culture. Wanting more is literally what fuels our American consumerist economy.
But if we are honest with ourselves, haven’t we missed it?
Are we willing to admit that maybe we have gotten a little out of control with the things we want and feel like we need? Why do keep wanting more when we already have so much? And if the things we do have, aren’t bringing the satisfaction we had hoped for and we are still not happy, then why would having something else be any different? I’m afraid the problems are not our products, but us! Some of us, myself included are seeking the wrong things and we don’t even know it. Contentment is difficult because it’s not a product to acquire; it’s a state of mind. And that may be new to many of us because again, its contrary to everything we though we knew. The sooner we realize that we are being lied to about what will make us truly happy the closer we will be to finding contentment with who we are and where we are in life. I am by far still working towards being content. I struggle on a daily basis and expect to struggle for the rest of my life.
The only real advise I know how to give in this area that has worked for me, is to be continually thankful for what I do have and remind myself that having more is not the answer.
Seek to be content. Not happy.