Many of the clients I work with have a desire to be content with life, yet struggle to experience it at any significant level. To live a content life would be amazing wouldn’t it? To not feel anxious about tomorrow, to feel satisfied and at peace with today and to be free from any guilt or shame from yesterday. Sounds brilliant.
To be content would be comforting, tranquil, peaceful, satisfying, fulfilling, delightful and empowering. So why is living a content life so elusive for so many people? The dictionary says that contentment is “a state of happiness and satisfaction.”
The first idea that’s critical to understand is that many people confuse contentment with settling for mediocre or less. Being content is not about settling for where you are at in life, with what you have in life or with who you currently are. It’s not resigning from effort, change, growth, development and transformation. It’s not settling for good, when you can experience great. It’s not giving up on your hopes, it’s not staying in your comfort zone and it’s certainly not an idealistic fantasy of living with no regrets, ambitions, desires and dreams. In fact I believe that true contentment is a powerful motivator for excellence, achievement, development and success.
The second idea that’s critical to grasp is that contentment is actually possible, but it does require us to go against the flow of our cultural rapids. To be content would mean you are not as influenced by the media and society onslaught on all our senses of comparison, acquisition, perfection and winning. Contentment needs to be framed around the ideas of gratefulness, learning, generosity and progress. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, practice gratitude. Instead of being driven by the need to acquire, practice generosity. Instead of being beaten up by the need to win, practice learning. Instead of striving for perfection, practice progress.
You will never experience true contentment unless you become grateful for your journey, for what you already have and for who you are. Stop comparing and start declaring your gratitude. Affirm the value of generosity, learning and progress by living it out every day. You want more joy, more fun, more peace, more freedom and more success, then live a grateful and generous life, acknowledging and valuing your learning and progress.
Stand against a culture that is robbing you of experiencing contentment. Have a brilliant week, Brett.