What does contentment really mean?
I’ve pondered this question a lot. I know many a person who seem to NEVER be content with what they have, with their situation, their lot in life. I never had the “grass is greener” complex that they seem to have, so I have trouble understanding that mindset.
On the other hand, there are things with which I am not content. Those things, although my circumstances are continually changing, never seem to get resolved. So I have to consider the possibility that the discontent is something that is part of me… in other words… it’s not the situation driving the feeling… it’s me.
Or, even more convoluted… perhaps I subconsciously either choose or create the situations that cause the discontent.
I can’t honestly believe that I’m immune to self-destructive behavior, even if I can’t really actually see it. It’s easy to laugh at people who continually put themselves into the same precarious situation over and over… building a house in New Orleans comes to mind… But, is that behavior really that unlike my own?
I THINK I’m constantly bettering both myself and my lot in life. Am I illusioned? Is it just many years of religious and political programming? What if I’m actually jumping from one situation to another, one project to another, one undertaking to another… always thinking it’s a step up. Maybe it’s just a step sideways…
I don’t believe in evolution, but I do believe we’re genetically predisposed to try and get smarter, get richer, and get happier. (usually in that order) When is it ok to be content and stop “chasing” whatever it is that you think you want?
And then there’s patience. I’ve always thought I was a very patient person. The older I get, the more I believe I’m only patient because I’m a foolish optimist. Deep down, I believe that if I’m patient and bide my time, things will work out to my benefit. Of course, that’s hardly ever really the case.
If you’re waiting on OTHER people to come around, the odds of them coming around to YOUR way of thinking are for all intents and purposes zero percent. Everyone’s in a constant state of change, but there are millions of possible directions that change could take them. It turns out, the only person who you can really influence and change is yourself.
So ultimately, contentment has to come from within. When I figure out what that last sentence actually means, I’ll be sure to write a post about it.