One of my personal goals is to experience more contentment in 2014. I am not talking about being contented with the social injustices, disasters, sickness, tragedies or other negative issues in our messed up world. Nor do I mean having a counterfeit contentment based on shallow materialistic or based on unusable relationships.
Contentment is defined by Webster’s dictionary as “feeling or showing satisfactions with one’s possessions, status or situation.”
This means having an internal peace and happiness that cannot be easily shaken whether rich/poor, promoted/unemployed, married/single, sick or healthy. We must not allow our thoughts about what is beyond our control to rob us of this internal calm and rest for our soul.
Tips for Finding Contentment
- Realize that we do not need as much as we think we do and let go of unrealistic expectations. “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” ― Socrates
- Find delight and express gratitude for small pleasures that life come each day (physical strength, challenging relationships and imperfect circumstances). It is possible to miss out on the small joys while waiting for the mysterious big happiness to occur.
- Make self statements using the words “never-the-less.” For example, ‘I dread going to work this morning never-the-less I have a job and feed my family.’
- Be true to your intrinsic moral values rather than people pleasing or allowing fear to dictate your thoughts and emotions.
- Accept that you are enough rather than dwelling on ways you have disappointed yourself or others. Accept praise and be confident in your ability to problem solve, face setbacks and overcome obstacles.
- Accept that you are neither inferior nor superior to others. Believe that others are interested in you and should take you seriously.
- Accept feeling a wider range of emotions as messages that state “it is what it is”.
Discontentment can become a viscous cycle that prevents us from enjoying the life that comes from appreciating our imperfections. Learning to be content in various situation, atmospheres and environments is a sign of maturity. Learning to look in the mirror and be content with what we see is sign of personal development. We cannot place our trust in our circumstances, momentary success or what others say without feeling anxious. We also cannot wait to be genuinely happy when those things that define our quality world are realized.
“But godliness actually is a means of great gain, when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the word, so we cannot take anything out of it either. And if we have food and covering with these we shall be content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8)
Beth Holloway, MA, LPCA is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate and has more than 12 years’ experience in the mental health field. She has recently joined the Miller Counseling Services team and specializes in counseling individuals and couples who have experienced all types of losses including abuse, domestic strife, and trauma. She enjoys leading group therapy classes in the areas of Divorce Recovery, Spiritual Enrichment, Couples and Parent/Child Relationships, Grief Processing and Depression Recovery. Beth has had the privilege of traveling all over the United States and to more than 10 foreign countries and has been enriched by learning about people from diverse cultures and ethnic groups.