Would you describe yourself as being content? What does that mean? One way to describe being content is as being satisfied and happy. This can mean different things to different people as well as at different points in our lives. As a small baby, we are content when we are fed, dry, and have enough sleep. Otherwise, we most like likely express the degrees to which we are not content by how loudly we are crying.
As in this example, content doesn’t imply a condition that lasts permanently or one that takes into account all our needs and desires. For instance, we might be content-happy and satisfied following a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with family we love and get along with. It wouldn’t really be old to eat that well [and probably that much] every day, but it is hard to top our feeling of contentment at a time like that.
When a number of different social and economic groups were asked about how content they were-how satisfying their life is overall, from the most wealthy, to people who eke out a living off their land, levels of contentment or satisfaction were remarkably similar.
This study took money off the table as being the ingredient to guarantee a happy, contented life. How many times have we thought, “if I just made a certain amount of money, I would certainly have contentment and happiness.” Time after time it has been demonstrated that wealth alone does not automatically guarantee satisfaction and contentment.
There are times when contentment is less important than striving to achieve. We have those periods in which we are focused on becoming the best we can possibly be. This can be in school, focusing on academic achievement, athletic prowess, musical or dramatic pursuits. It can be hard to be content when we are striving with every fiber of our being. We temporarily trade satisfaction for the excitement of reaching a goal.
A worthy goal in life is to be able to be content while striving for excellence and achievement of a goal. A truly mature person can be both content and satisfied while striving to achieve great things. This doesn’t happen for everyone. It may not even happen for a majority of people, but it is a truly worthwhile life goal.
As we move forward, think of a time in your life when you were content-both happy, and satisfied. What was going on in your life at this time? Are you experiencing contentment in your life now? If so, how does this factor into your sense of well-being at the present time?
If you are not feeling content—happy and satisfied, what might be going on in your life to keep you from experiencing contentment? it’s a fair question. Our experiences in life should bring us happiness and satisfaction. As we move forward, let us make contentment—happiness and satisfaction, the goal of every aspect of our life. Ask yourself if anything that does not lead to happiness and satisfaction belongs in your life. I do not believe it does in mine.If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.
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