If you’re content, you should know what happiness means.
The problem I see with a lot of people, including myself, is the attitude toward contentment. The question is usually whether one actually wants to become content or not.
I used to have a vague idea on how to be content. I thought I knew exactly what it was like. But I realized I didn’t get it right.
I based contentment on the accomplishment of goals, or achievements. I had to feel content if I succeeded in some endeavor. I felt content if I have proved something about myself.
I never really knew why I had that kind of thinking.
Contentment has a simple definition—being content is being happy with my life—that’s it. It means that whether there are accomplishments to celebrate, or problems to deal with, the happiness remains—that’s precisely the meaning of being content.
Each of us has goals, reaching them could be a lifetime process. In any case, however, we can be content—every time.
Here are reminders that could help you if you’re learning just how to be content.
1. Nurture relationships.
Surround yourself with positive, happy people. If you want to take care of your current and future relationships, you must choose the right people to begin with.
Studies show that having a lot of close friends could increase life contentment. This affirms that indeed, people need people, and when you find opportunities to build relationships with the right ones, grab them.
Same goes with family and relatives, too. Relatives could simply click with one another. If you belong to a family or clan that encourages such resonance, that’s truly a bonus. I’ve always believed that family’s there for a reason. Some friends could only come and go, but family could stay no matter what.
2. Keep moving forward.
Take action. You may find that taking action actually precedes motivation, not the other way around. And it could just give you the contentment you’re looking for.
Focus on your efforts rather than on the desired results. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to move on despite whatever reasons that could hold you back.
Don’t be afraid to fail. You may have already developed a high self-esteem. You may be competitive in your industry. You may have already set the momentum for yourself. But you have to embrace failure. Learn from it. But don’t let it stop you. Let it inspire you instead.
Look back—but I don’t mean dwell on the past. As you move forward, remember who you were, what you’ve become, what you’ve accomplished. Cherish all improvements.
3. Take things seriously—but not too seriously.
If there’s anything I’ve learned from being serious all the time, it’s this: Make plans and develop habits.
You can tackle the most important things in your life, but you don’t have to allow them to stress you all the time. That’s why there’s a need to stick to plans—and change a bit of your attitude, if needed.
I’ve learned what it truly means to “not take things too seriously.” At first, I thought it simply meant to “just take it easy”—you know, without really preparing realistic plans. It means much more than that.
You have to make plans, whether you like it or not. Write them down. Let them remind you every day (make sure you can later see what you write). And maintain a happy heart—this, particularly, is how to be content in life.
4. Be thankful for everything. (That’s right, everything.)
Do you notice people’s tendency to become thankful when something good comes up, and to complain when otherwise?
I challenge you to be thankful for adversities. I know it could be hard. But let me be honest with you—I’m thankful for my own adversities.
Sometimes there could be really huge challenges for which no reaction—but hate, frustration or disappointment—would ever be right. I’m not saying that you should forcibly avoid feeling these. But you can still be thankful.
Thank for circumstances, for the hard times—the truth is you’ll never learn if you never go through them. Another way to look at it is this: If everything’s going to go well, without any major problems at all, how and what exactly will you learn?
Start by identifying one good and one bad thing every day—be thankful for them.
5. Stop comparing yourself with others.
Others’ state of contentment will always be different from yours.
Do you think you have some “ill fortune” or something of that sort?
Be reminded: There are a lot of wealthy, beautiful or “favored” people—yet many of them aren’t content in life! On the other hand, there are those who are. Similarly, there are a lot of poor people—”poor” being in different forms you could think of—and many, too, aren’t content. I tell you, however, that a lot of poor people know how to be content.
Why am I telling you this? Because as I said—others’ contentment is different from yours. There should be no connection at all. You only waste your time and energy if you try to imitate how others are content with their life!
Be content with and for yourself, focus on that.
6. Be optimistic, even if it seems pointless.
Similar to being naturally thankful, you can always see a reason to be optimistic in your routine.
Had a fight with a colleague? Great you’re both okay after the heated argument. A calamity came to your town? Great to have different communities extending their hand to support. Missed a deadline? Great you had to prioritize that other task because it was more important.
Optimism could get ridiculous, but think about it: If life seems to put you down, your attitude doesn’t have to change. If any, be more positive, be more optimistic! Being negative only magnifies the negativity—you could at least be mindful of it.
7. What’s your purpose in life?
When you work on your plan, on filling your purpose, you’ll discover how to be content.
This means identifying possible obstacles, looking for solutions, and recognizing the fulfillment from realizing that purpose. Your purpose could be a one-time event, it could be a lifelong process. But whatever it is, work hard to reach it.
8. Focus on this moment.
You’re given every single moment to live and enjoy—acknowledge it.
Forget about your worries about the future, and don’t entertain the ugly memories from the past.
Declutter, organize your physical possessions, so you can also organize your thoughts.
Being content means you treasure what’s in the now, you make the most out of it, and you’re grateful for it!
Think About It
Contentment, like happiness, is a constant feeling or state of mind you could allow to manifest in your life. It’s appreciating what you already have.
Sometimes, you may not only compare your life with others who have more, but also compare with those who have less—simply to appreciate what you have. (Watch out for this. Again, remember to stop comparing!)
But it will all come down to finding your own happiness—no matter what you do and don’t have.
Being content is neither settling down nor being complacent, too, especially with your life goals. Being content is simply carrying on as if all challenges are a breeze, and as if life was made for you and you alone!
Speak Your Mind
Could you share an experience that made you realize you’re already content with your life? What’s the most common reason people don’t learn how to be content? Tell us about them on the comments below!