Updated: Apr 22
What is contentment? Contentment is an emotional state of satisfaction that can be seen as a mental state, maybe drawn from being at ease in one's situation, body and mind. Colloquially speaking, contentment could be a state of having accepted one's situation and is a milder and more tentative form of happiness.
I don't know about you however, I have most definitely been in situations many times that I did not 'feel' contentment. Not unlike happiness, we are able to choose our state of mind and contentment is just that.
The photo is one of Tobe, my wonderful senior cat. Unlike the photo, he is not always in a state of contentment. Sometimes he is protesting his situation just as we humans do. He is very vocal kitty and lets me know when he is not satisfied with where he is.
How do we achieve that somewhat unattainable state of contentment? I feel like saying, don't ask me since frequently I have wondered myself. In our culture and in these times, it is a rarity to feel content or to see someone who is. Why don't we take a few moments and examine some ways to come to that place of contentment.
The first way I recommend is to PAUSE. Stop and take notice of why you are feeling that way. Is it someone in your life that you think is causing that discontent? Remember, we get to choose. Are you dissatisfied with yourself? Do you frequently say "I'll be happy when"? When you take that pause, take a deep breath and consider why you think you can't be content. Accept yourself as you are in this moment. Accept the other person as they are as well if you believe it is someone else.
Another way you can bring more contentment into your life is to stop buying things you don't really need. Even if you can afford the item you are wanting, are you purchasing it to try to feel happy? Most likely we have all been there, done that. I confess I have. There are times to simply buy something for yourself for the sheer pleasure of it. Not a problem yet if it is because you don't know if you will live without it, think again!
Here's a good one. The phrase 'stop and smell the roses' is not just a cliche'. It is a metaphor to take time out and look around you. Take in the fresh air, the sunshine. Taste the food you are consuming too quickly and check the texture, the flavor. Enjoy every bite. If you have a four legged family member, enjoy their company and the way they respond to your touch. I enjoy the feel of Tobe's fur. He is silky soft and I absolutely love the purr he gives me when I am loving on him.
So much is being written in recent years of 'living in the moment'. Again, not a catch phrase but a true necessity in life. It has always been true, and now more than ever, it can save your life. Have you ever been driving down the highway and when you reach your destination, you can't remember the drive? Some of that is rote memory, yet it is dangerous. Another way to say it is pay attention. When we get to the end of the day or end of the week, it's not uncommon to say, what did I do all day or all week?
GRATITUDE is a very good way to start feeling content. Appreciate what you have right now. I will reiterate that it's been a challenge many times for me. Yet, the more I stop and say thank you for the little things the more my life changes around me. Gratitude puts us in a state of peace instead of the 'when' mindset.
There may well be many other ways and means to find contentment but this is a start and some practices that are working for me these days. Life is never going to be perfect from many standpoints, but it can be enjoyable moment by moment.
Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, whatever you may be going through, STOP and smell the roses in your life. You won't regret it, I can promise you!