There are mixed thoughts concerning being content with what we have. Some feel it is an attitude of modesty and spirituality to live with little, or even to live in poverty. Others feel that contentment shows a lack of motivation to become better, wealthier, more successful and therefore a flaw.
But being content is actually neither of those. Many poor people are far from content, and want very much to have more, just as many of the richest people are not content with what they have, but want more and more. So contentment is not about wealth at all. It is an attitude that we choose to develop, regardless of our financial state in life.
Some are content to be single, while others are not. Some are content to be an unknown person, while other seek fame. So it is also not about relationship status or being known for anything.
This means that anyone can learn to be content in whatever situation they may find themselves in. There is a common response when tragedy occurs, where some people aren’t as upset as they thought they should be, and even see it as a new start. For example, someone loses their home to fire, and all of their memories and photographs are gone forever. A strange thing happens to a fairly high number of these disaster survivors, in that they feel an unexpected sense of peacefulness. They will start again, they have a sense of hope and optimism and even joy, despite the huge loss. It’s hard to know why this happens, but they seem to be content with their lives, with beginning again, and not filled with all of the negative emotion one might expect. The shock of the loss wears off and they are left with an odd sense of contentment.
We certainly don’t need a major loss to experience contentment. There are evenings when a sunset can fill us with joy and wonder and a sense of contentment with our lives. We can choose to be content with a loved one, or a job, or an older car or house. Gratitude plays a part in this, but the contentment seems to happen by itself. Let’s suppose someone is facing a job loss, and it could result in them losing their house, and the company car will be taken away. Despite this looming over them, they feel an odd sense of contentment, a feeling that everything will somehow be all right. In another situation, a cancer diagnosis is given, and the patient begins to feel a contentment in life, a thankfulness for each day they still have. The cancer gets treated and they get checkups, never knowing for certain if it might return. Despite this uncertainty, they feel that odd contentment, being glad for every day they get to be alive. I can attest to this, as I was diagnosed with a stage T4 cancer, yet not worrying about it. As a result of my outlook, I have done quite well so far. You would think a solid future working for a well established company would give contentment, or a clean bill of health after every checkup, but although these can make us feel secure, that security could pop like a bubble at any time. The contentment lies deeper than that, and isn’t so easily shaken.
Perhaps contentment comes from a deeper consciousness that our spirit is eternal and only lives in this body for awhile, so the things of this world are not the absolute essentials of our existence. We can all be content knowing this, and when we do, the smaller things of our earthly lives don’t really rock our boat too much. So think of that, and keep noticing all of the things to be grateful for. Life is good.
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