Content: satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.
How many of us are happy with what we have? We live in an age of MORE. I need this then I ‘ll be happy. I want that because he has that. We can ‘t help it, its the environment we live in nah, that ‘s too easy. Pause. Take a deep breath and imagine your life where you have everything you have ever wanted in life. Then what?
Take a look at what Leo at Zen Habits has to say about what life would be like if you learned to be content:
- Self image. We compare ourselves with the images in our head of perfection movie stars, models in magazines, other people who seem to have it all together and we can never measure up to those perfect images. But those images are not real. They are an imagined ideal. Even the beautiful people have bad hair days and feel flabby, and if you take away their photoshopped and heavily-made-up facade, you see that they are every bit as human as you are. Even the people who seem successful, living exciting lives they have the same self-doubts you have. So if they don’t live up to this ideal image, why should you? And even if they did (which they don’t), why would you need to? When we let go of this image of perfection, we realize that we are already exactly who we should be. And then, all our need for self-improvement, and all the activity and effort and pain that implies, fades away. We are happy with ourselves, and nothing else is needed.
- Relationships. If you are content with yourself, you are more likely to be a good friend, partner, parent. You are more likely to be happy and friendly and loving, more likely to be as accepting of others as you are of yourself. Relationships improve, especially when others learn to be content with themselves, from your example.
- Health. Much of our culture’s unhealthiness comes from unhappiness eating junk food to give ourselves comfort and relieve stress, not exercising because we think we can’t (because we have a bad self-image), being glued online because we think we might miss something if we turn off the computer or iPhone. When you realize that you aren’t missing anything, and you don’t need junk food to be happy, and you are good enough to exercise, you can slowly return to health.
- Possessions. The overload of possessions in our lives comes from unhappiness we buy things because we think they’ll give us comfort, coolness, happiness, security, an exciting life. When we become content with ourselves and our lives, we realize none of that is necessary, and we can start getting rid of these extraneous crutches.
- Busy-ness. Much of our busy-ness comes from fear that we should be doing more, that we might be missing out, that we aren’t enough already. But we are enough, and we don’t need more, and we aren’t missing out. So we can let go of a lot of unnecessary activity, and just focus on doing what we love, and give ourselves the space to enjoy a contented life.
This is all just a few scratches on the surface of a contented life, but it gives you a picture of what might be. And the truth is, once you learn the simple trick of contentedness, it’s really a picture of what already is. You just need to let go of the fears, and see what is already here.
‘Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu