Contentment - The state of being mentally or emotionally satisfied with things as they are.
We’re all looking for it and it means something different to each of us. The word equivalent of a fingerprint, if you will. Each definition unique and taking on its own shape and form. Our thoughts of what it means are constantly changing and evolving through different stages in our lives. It’s not just a thought, or a short-term feeling, but more of an authenticated situation we strive for that produces long-term satisfaction.
While writing this I tasked myself with peeling back the layers and differences between happiness and what gives me sustained contentment. Happiness to me may consist of hearing a favorite song from my childhood, having my favorite dinner or watching a good movie. While we enjoyed these at the moment they took place, and they made us temporarily happy, it doesn’t take long for the song or movie to end and our level of contentment most likely isn’t advanced moving forward. While I personally believe these little bouts of happiness are imperative for our short- and long-term well-being, contentment is most likely unaffected.
Often times I believe contentment is incorrectly intertwined with complacency. We may fear if we are too content with our current situation then we aren’t striving to become a better version of ourselves. Our thoughts may tell us that if being content goes hand-in-hand with complacency then why work towards it. I admit this perfectly describes my thought process for a large portion of my life. Looking back now I realize how unhealthy that was, both mentally and spiritually. The time I spent only fixating on the future and not enjoying the current moment, can never be recaptured. It is possible to be content and at the same time aspire to achieve more, be it professionally, physically or spiritually.
You may have noticed I freely listed a few things that supply happiness for me but have not yet touched on what I personally believe contentment is. I find it is much more difficult to describe and wrap our arms around as it often times isn’t tangible. It’s possible some people may not agree with that statement as their definition may partially consist of material things they can reach out and touch. While this can be true, as each person rightfully defines their own definition, some of the most truly content people I’ve ever been associated with don’t necessarily have the highest net-worth or collection of things. This isn’t to say material items can’t bring contentment for some but more of a belief that material satisfaction is less important to our overall well-being than a consistent positive mindset and the relationships we foster.
If contentment is so great then how do we find it? Can we just hope to one day have it? Will we get it at a certain age? Do you already truly have it? Is it tangible? The answer is different for everybody but it is out there and it’s for each one of us to continually look for it. We can begin by taking the first step by creating a plan and following where our spirit is leading us. As cliché as it sounds we owe it to ourselves to find not only what allows for bursts of happiness but also what helps fully complete us as individuals on a more permanent level. Although I’m cognizant of the search, sometimes it’s more elusive than others. My reliance on spiritual faith brings me contentment as does a feeling of self-independence. I do know for certain when my family and those closest to me are healthy and I think of my future with them, I am truly content. The thought of completing the ever-changing bucket list of adventures I’ve created over the years, pales in comparison to a genuine connection of the soul that takes place with those I love and cherish the most. Here’s to finding your own slice of contentment – Onward!