Archive | June, 2013

“Good Enough!” The Art of Contentment!

20 Jun

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while and after months of trying to pen together my thoughts and reflections, I came up blank. To the point I thought it’d be better to scrap it and think of something else.

For me to see this topic through, I’d have to get NAKED. I’d have to be transparent and admit that contentment is something I’m struggling with. So doing a full circle, I write about what I know, and that is I don’t know much about life but I’m in the process of learning about it every day. Therefore this topic should be no exception. In its purest form it presents more questions than answers.

Where do I even begin? How can I learn to be happy with the little I know around me when something deep inside fights against that. Screams at me ‘There is MORE, there is BETTER!’ How can I be comfortable with London; I turn and see a small globe in my right hand. The longer I stare, the bigger it grows and I see continents. It grows and I recognise foreign cities. How can I be satisfied with walking when I see planes flying and eagles soaring? Feeling like I live where the sky ends (yup, you know this).Why will I settle for ordinary when there is EXCEPTIONAL love? Though I’ve never experienced it, I always imagined having the kind of love Norah Jones would write a soundtrack to. You know the type of songs you’d hear in an Italian restaurant on a sunny Sunday afternoon over baguettes, olives and white wine. That mellow romance, that simple love.

Maybe that love isn’t even real.
Maybe all I desire and seek doesn’t exist.
Maybe I’m just a dreamer!

But how can I be CONTENT with life when I’m not living, not even trying?

To me CONTENTMENT is an art; it is the expression of an idea and it captures the essence of a person’s experience. It is a SKILL, an ability, that is developed and cultivated through understanding, practice, and willpower which is then manifested in the choices made.

In grammatical terms, it is a noun, a verb and an adjective; A STATE/AN EMOTION!! Being an English Major, I understand that.

Now this sounds great in theory, but how does it work in practice? What does contentment really look like? Can it be learnt like patience, courage, and discipline or are these in fact the attributes that aid contentment? Maybe I don’t recognise contentment, but I’m familiar with discontentment so it may help looking at reasons for discontentment in hope that it will lead us to understanding contentment.

• Lack of AMBITION
Ambition isn’t just about striving for wealth, popularity and/or success or being greedy. It’s about influence, integrity and involvement in the world around us. When you have healthy ambitions that ‘wanting more’ feeling translates into trying to be the best we can be!

Be a 'Go-Getter'!

Be a ‘Go-Getter’!

If you don’t have aspirations and a vision what exactly are you working towards? Lack of ambition will find you in the company of procrastination and inaction. Or you’ll do things without understanding why with a lurking feeling that you’re doing something wrong, but never quite knowing what in order to correct it. Then frustration and doubt will be the banner over major areas of your life.

If you lack ambition, you’re more likely to settle’ because you either don’t know your worth or what you want. So you choose the next available option out of F.E.A.R (false evidence appearing real) that nothing better will come along. When you settle you decide not to be left standing alone before all the options are exhausted. Having altruistic ambitions helps you align yourself with what is really important.

Get clear on what YOU want for yourself!!!

• Lack of COMMITMENT
Personally, I think my inability to be content stems from lack of commitment. Whenever I prematurely terminated one route for another, there was no evidence of ‘meaningful completion’. I didn’t stick around long enough to see the results of my efforts, to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Therefore I was discontented being a failure; giving up when I knew I could have taken one more step. My spiritual mentor clarified ‘meaningful completion’ as ‘finishing what you start, receiving the full benefit from it and others benefiting from it too.’

The beauty of life is that even when we make mistakes, it can be used for our good! The path we are on allows room for flexibility; ADAPT, ADJUST and ADVANCE! But we must stay committed till the end of the road.

Take your time; don’t be in a hurry to take on commitments before you’ve had a chance to weigh the pros and cons.

• Lack of SELF-CONTROL
If you lack self-control, contentment is unlikely because a self-indulgent nature will always have you wanting more whilst focusing on fickle emotions and instant gratification. When you are presented with too many choices it hinders you from making a decision because of the various outcomes. How can you ever be sure that there won’t be better?

My prime example of this; APPLE products! Now don’t get me wrong, I love Steve Jobs and all (we cool peeps) but I don’t understand why there has to be a new iSomething every couple of months. They bring out an iPhone and say, “YES, THIS IS IT. THIS is the one”. Then everyone runs to the store (or waits in line at 4am) to get the gadget. Then months later they say, “No, no… THIS NEW ONE… THIS is the one.” Fair enough I get the concept of innovation (or maybe I don’t) and technology developing at Bolt speed but what are the implications of this? That life is a constant UPGRADE; ‘out with the old, in with the new’. People won’t invest NOW, because they ‘know’ there’ll be a new one soon. Some people apply this thought processing in relationships and opportunities and end up missing out.

There’s a thin line between settling and being insatiable and that is the ability to exercise SELF-CONTROL! Appreciating the choice you made as it serves the purpose for which you chose it for. More than likely there will be more and there may be better. But ‘better’ doesn’t always mean WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU!

• Lack of EFFORT

proverbs 134

I think an angle in recognising contentment is EFFORT! If you run a race, and come third, you won’t be content with third place, knowing you COULD and SHOULD have done better. So if life isn’t turning out the way you hoped it would, and you know you haven’t done enough to change that, discontentment with everything is inevitable.

There is nothing wrong with being a dreamer; you just have to work hard to achieve those dreams! Love is built. Careers are built. Everything is built. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart and all your might; invest your time and money. Then be satisfied knowing you did your best.

MA

• Lack of GRATITUDE
Lack of gratitude tricks us into thinking it is conditions/situations that make us happy or unhappy. Something as small as shifting your focus from negative to positive can instil a peace that frees you from anxiety, want or need. When you have a heart of gratitude, the focus moves off selfish desires and off the pain of current circumstances. You accept the good and bad but choose to appreciate all that is necessary.

'Count Your Blessings!'

‘Count Your Blessings!’

Take time to appreciate your own life from where you were, where you are and where you are going.

To conclude, it seems contentment can be identified in a person that has clear ambitions about what they want in life, is committed to the cause and seeing things through, has self-control, works hard to achieve their best and above all things, in spite of all things, is GRATEFUL. Discontented people tend to be complainers, grumpy and NEGATIVE! Their discontent is fuelled by lack; not lack of the things they desire but of one or more of the points above. That in reality is the problem.

contentment

Consider the points above and develop the ability you have been given to its full potential! I truly believe we can be the greatest, but that comes by seeing yourself as you really are and not as the world places values; You are more than able! When we are working towards being the best then we will be the biggest benefit to others!

Finding calmness in the midst of craziness.
Ms Tola xx