I have been thinking a lot lately about contentment. What does it mean to be content? What exactly does it look like?
Sometimes contentment can be confused with having no future dreams or aspirations. Certainly in my younger years, I kind of had the idea that contentment meant you had given up on expecting or hoping for anything different. Almost that being content meant you were ‘putting up with’ your current circumstances.
Now that I am older and maybe fractionally wiser – but that is debatable! – I actually have contentment as a bit of a goal. I have long since given up on ‘happiness’ as a goal, not because I am not happy essentially, but because happiness is such a fickle and hard to grasp entity that it is pointless trying to attain it. No, contentment is very different from happiness.
Here is what I have concluded: contentment is an absence of jealousy. For me, anyway.
Jealousy often arises in us when we see others having things/people/attributes that we don’t have. If I feel jealous of someones new job, new house, trip overseas, move to the country, new baby, then maybe I need to have a look at myself.
Often we will be jealous because we are not truly content.
Contentment, to me, means being completely okay with where I am at. That I feel no competition when I hear of what others are doing. Being truly pleased for someone else instead of inside griping that I wish it was me with that new <insert desirable item/situation>.
Being content doesn’t mean giving up on goals. I can be content that my goal for a trip to Europe will be realised in about ten years. I don’t have to give up that goal in order to be content.
When I truly let go of the want, want, want tendency that is in all of us, I can begin to tread the path of contentment. And I can also begin to feel genuine joy at another’s achievements.
How about you? Are you content? What does that look like for you?