Contentment , perhaps more important than happiness
Updated: Sep 18
Ask most people about what they would like from life and you will likely gain a list containing things such as more money , be able to travel more , good job, good health , lasting relationships and to be happy. We often strive to attempt things from that list and many other elements that will keep us happy or achieve happiness. However true happiness in how we think of it often remains one step away from our reach, and we can get frustrated, confused and stressed that we just don’t seem to be able to achieve continual happiness. Especially in todays world where we have grown to believe that more money , possessions , a bigger house , more holidays means that you are doing well the pressure to be happy is perhaps bigger than ever before with often little idea of how we are going to achieve the things that we tell ourselves are so important to gaining happiness. Social media especially hasn’t helped with so many people portraying a good, successful and happy life and even having the pictures showing how happy they are . But in truth there are not many people who are going to advertise their worries , that it may be the first holiday they have had in 15 years, that their car has been loaned or is on finance , that they may have health worries or family problems. Reality TV has also added to this, In Reality the description should be changed , perhaps to something like non reality. Who’s reality do they depict ? The shows that they are on are either often staged in a pretend setting, scripted or exaggerated stories from a pinch of the truth. These shows are entertainment programmes with clear intention to entertain, yet many viewers compare these to their own lives and feel that their life should in some way match what they have seen. So how do we achieve real happiness ? Humans need a small list of basic things, Food , Water, Shelter, If we have these in place, to develop contentment we need to be grateful for having these basics and grateful for whatever else we have around us. This is our base and foundation that we can build upon. We cant gain contentment unless we are grateful for what we already have and learn to focus on the good things in our lives. If in any doubt, a good way to start is by listing the things that you have , write them down , this is a list that you can keep adding to and should be fluid , something that keeps flowing and changing over time. We also need to reflect upon our own personality, attitude , how we present our self and outlook. Do we get angry easily, frustrated , and do we constantly look at what we should be achieving . Does our self talk contain a lot of ‘When I do this’ or ‘when this happens, then ill be happy’ Instead to gain contentment we need to know that we are either acting on what we would like to change or have a plan that we are going to act upon to achieve our goals. If we are forever thinking about when something may happen but not acting to make it happen the frustrations continue and increase and feed the unhappiness. Something that has grown in modern times is how many of us now compare ourselves to others. Social media has greatly helped this to increase as we now get to see regular snap shots of other people’s lives like looking through their windows into their homes. The issue with this is that in reality we only get to see what they want us too. We may sometimes see arguments or issues , perhaps people talking about health problems. But in general we see people happily talking about how great their 4th holiday this year was , How their new car drives and looks, Their new job , partner or what nice meal they are having to eat. To deal with this affectively it helps to remember that this may not be the reality, nobodies life is trouble free and easy. We need to stay away from assumption making and refocus and concentrate on what we now know about our self.
'I am ok, I have a plan to get to where I want to be, I am thankful for what I have and grateful'.
As long as we feel that we are moving forward in some way we can be happy that we are not stuck without a plan or direction. In gaining contentment it is important to know that you are still learning new things, gaining new experiences. To remind yourself of how far you have come , what you have already achieved and that you have done well. Take pride in these things and when you have achieved small goals keep clear of becoming complacent by setting and making new achievable ones.
Another great way of moving towards contentment and happiness is to share what you have achieved with others, help support others to achieve their goals. Perhaps engage with charity or voluntary work as while helping to support others you can also gain a huge amount of satisfaction and increase confidence and self worth.
We may not always have the time to take on new roles , but you can also complete this within the home or with family and friends and while protecting your own needs and interests show others how they can be content and happy themselves also.