A very real, yet unexpected, consequence of the uncertainty surrounding 2020 is a sense of freedom I feel from finding that illusive sense of contentment.
Over the summer this contentment took me by surprise. I’ve slowed down, I’ve gone within, I’ve gone without. And the most important take away from this disorienting time has been a quickening of coming home to myself.
In the beginning of March, life felt restricted, controlled, and full of unknowns. Now, September has arrived, and the restrictions, control and unknowns still exist, yet, I’ve learned how to navigate them with more grace and ease that I would have otherwise imagined.
The clarity that has emerged is enlightening, for the joy I feel is not found only in things, experiences or even other people. Joy comes from within, from the simple act of feeling and being okay with my current status and situation. I’ve found a easy happiness in the simple freedom of being who I am, enjoying who I am, and living the life I am destined to live.
In our society, we’re encouraged to strive for ever more. Material accumulation and instant gratification are promoted paths to happiness, making the simple act of contentment difficult.
“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty.” —Socrates
Although everyone’s path to contentment will be different, here are five ways to become more intentional as you create a more content life.
- Practice gratitude. Gratitude is a foundational pillar of contentment. When you have feelings of gratitude, there is no possible space for lack to push in. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve your satisfaction and contentment with life.
- Live in the moment. When you go down the rabbit hole of “I’ll be happy when…” you’re delaying your sense of contentment, happiness and joy. Instead, stay in the moment, and remember your happiness is not reliant on achieving a future outcome.
- Resist comparing yourself to others. There will always be people who “appear” to have it all, but the truth is, you don’t know the full story. You have your life, they have theirs… period. When you know that you are enough, that you are special, and that you are unique, you automatically stop comparing yourself to others.
- Be of service to others. Helping others by sharing your gifts and talents, your time and resources will help you refine your appreciation for what you have to offer. Knowing who you are and what you have to give to the world strengthens your feelings of contentment.
- Keep growing. Stay curious. Never stop learning, exploring, investigating that which sparks wonder within you. There is always room for new discoveries and growth.
Contentment allows you to be grateful and happy for what you have right now. It’s proven to reduce your stress levels, improve your mood and outlook for life, it relaxes your body and brings more happiness and joy to the present moment.
But just to be clear, contentment isn’t the same thing as being complacent. The difference is that when you are content, you are happy with what you have and find satisfaction with your present circumstances. In contrast, when you feel complacent, you feel unsatisfied with your life, yet are unwilling to make changes to improve your situation. I hope that helps.
At the end of the day, finding the joy in contentment is a choice you get to make. When you create the intentional mindset shifts, change the habits that make you feel less than, and become aware of your thoughts and actions on the regular, then, over time, these new behaviors shift into feelings of contentment.
I’ll be honest, the tending of my inner garden over the past few years has given me the greatest gift during these uncertain times, and that is an inner sense of contentment I didn’t know I’d ever find.
How about you? I always love hearing your thoughts and comments, so if you feel like sharing how this Mindful Moment touched you, I’d love to hear.
Infinite ∞ Love, Lyn