The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment. Brie Larson
Our society is rife with discontentment.
- Advertisements bombard us from all sides, tempting us to want more, newer, bigger and better. It shifts our focus from appreciating the good things we already have to wanting the nicer things we don’t have.
- Our society is in a race to achieve more, reach the next goal, and be more successful than the neighbors. Instead of taking time to appreciate small successes and savor life’s simple pleasures we ignore them, yearning instead for a better version of things in the future. (We even do this
- Modern technology makes it easier than ever to compare ourselves to others: our bodies, our homes, our children, our careers, and our ministries. We can never measure up to the mega-successful we find there, leading to disillusionment, jealousy, and other toxic attitudes.
Ten ways to enjoy a more satisfied life by practicing contentment
- Practice gratitude. Take time every day to list five things you are grateful for. Challenge yourself to come up with new items each day.
- Slow down. Our hectic lifestyles can become such a habit that we forget to savor the good moments. When was the last time you really tasted what you had for lunch? Listened to a piece of music with your full attention? Today, take a slow break. And enjoy.
- Find the good. All parents wish their kids would grow out of their current exasperating phase, but ignoring them until they “grow out of it” is not good parenting. If you look for the good, even in frustrating situations, you will learn to see it.
- Celebrate small successes. When we recognize the small accomplishments we make along the way, we feel successful. It’s difficult to feel content when we never see success, so don’t forget to notice all those little, daily milestones.
- Learn to say no. It can be the most empowering word in your vocabulary.
- Resist perfectionism. Striving for perfection erodes our self-esteem (because it’s unattainable) and keeps us living in the fear that we won’t measure up. (We never will.) Instead, give yourself permission to learn from your mistakes and be satisfied with the best effort you can achieve for today.
- Believe in God’s sufficiency. Don’t listen to the voices that whisper you aren’t talented enough, smart enough, experienced enough. Instead believe that God will provide you with everything you need to succeed in whatever he has called you to do.
- Practice generosity. We sow what we reap. Kindness begets kindness, and generosity begets generosity. I realize not every person will return kindness for kindness, but overall a generous life will be a richer life. And we can look back on it with satisfaction rather than regret.
- Invest in relationships. People with strong relationships are happier, healthier, and more confident. Plus, when tough times come, people with strong friendships fare better because they have a support network. All the money and power in the world can’t provide what goodfriends
- Pursue your dreams, patiently. Contentment is not a lack of ambition, but an acceptance of the fact that good things take time. Be patient and take one small step toward a life goal. (Then see #4.)
Being ‘contented’ ought to mean in English, as it does in French, being pleased. Being content with an attic ought not to mean being unable to move from it and resigned to living in it; it ought to mean appreciating all there is in such a position. Gilbert K. Chesterton