We live in a world where discontentment lurks around every corner. With one swipe or click, we are able to glimpse into the lives of others. Comparison steals joy and contentment from so many of us, as we strive to live up to the best moments of others that we see online. Many of us recognize the feelings of discontentment, and don’t enjoy the discomfort that those feelings bring. So we search for contentment, hoping that we will find comfortability there, but that is not always the case.
Contentment is a state of mind; one in which we can find peace and wholeness. However, it doesn’t always mean that we are comfortable, like we may think we should be. It’s the idea of finding peace in the worst of situations. Often we fall victim to the trap that if we just have more, or do more, then we will be content, and yet being content comes from within. Socrates said,
He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he doesn’t have.
Who better to speak wisdom than Socrates, right?
This time last year I was battling some uncomfortable and painful health issues. I was on a special diet, lots of supplements, and had to take a significant amount of time off of work as my body began to heal. I was discouraged and unhappy, living in negative thoughts. Over Christmas, my older brother, whose advice I treasure and respect, asked me what I would do if my life never changed. What would I do if my body didn’t heal, if I never worked again? Some of you think never working again would be the dream; however, I do not operate that way. I need structure and purpose, and I struggle to motivate myself to create that without help. So not working has always been a recipe for disaster for me. But what my brother said has stuck with me. What if the hard circumstances don’t change? Do we live in contentment and peace? Or do we kick and scream and resent our lives the whole way?
I know what kind of life I want. I want a life of contentment regardless of what is going on around me. Because as we all know, life is not easy. There will always be ups and downs, deep pain, and sweet joy. I want to live with a sense of steadfastness, peace, and strength in every moment. Sounds beautiful, right? But I think we all know it’s not that easy.
How can we be content in those moments that feel like the world is falling apart all around us? Those moments when we are overwhelmed, can’t think straight, and feel as if we can’t take one more step forward? There are theories, practices, religions, and programs all geared towards finding balance and inner peace. While I ultimately choose to rest in the peace of God and cling to him on my journey of contentment, I know not everyone shares that and so I will break it down into one simple idea. When we live with our hands open to accepting and releasing everything that comes to us in life, there we will find contentment.
This is a life journey. I feel as though I am light years away from the life of contentment that I am working towards. I actually literally clench my fists without thinking throughout the day, I have since I was a little girl. And so I’ve traveled through life with my hands closed, not open. That is not working for me. It is not the life that I choose to live.
So, as we journey through contentment, let us remember that life will go on. The pain will still come and the chaos will ensue, but we can actively choose to live steadfast in peace regardless of what comes our way. Contentment does not replace our emotions; instead it anchors our soul while we feel our emotions to the fullest. Contentment allows us to step fully into life, not to shy away from it. Contentment allows us to unclench our fists, open our hands, and breathe deeply.