‘Contentment’ doesn’t come easy

Published 12:55 pm Monday, May 29, 2017


Is it just me or does it seem that most of us aren’t happy with our lives? All around us are people who complain when we have to wait in a fast food drive through longer than 30 seconds. The truth is we want what we want, and we want it now! Many of us work many long hours for what we consider little pay. On top of this is the fact that many employers are just too busy trying to make a reasonable profit that they do not seem to have the time to appreciate us as employees.
Our days are filled with ordinary routines. We “punch in” and we “punch out” day in and day out. The mundane has become the ordinary pace of our lives. When we get home in the evenings we turn on the news and the only excitement we experience is the knowledge of tragedy that is occurring all over this country and planet. This numbs us even more and the callouses that have formed around our emotional souls all but squelch out any smile we might be able to utter. We are in pain, and it isn’t just about us. Suffering is prevalent all around us. What is our outlet? When do we get to have a break? When can we truly take a vacation and it actually be a vacation? How do we find rest for our souls?
If this remotely sounds like your experience you are not alone. In fact, the above is the reality for many people I know. The truth is I have not always been a happy person. I have had seasons like this where I am just skimming the surface of life. I used to think and believe that if I made more money, or was able to buy certain things that I would feel better and be a happier person. But I eventually tripled my annual salary and was able to buy a lot of things, but those things didn’t make me happy. In fact those things have become pieces sold in yard sales over the years.
My wife has been instrumental in my self-realization. She is a therapist by profession. I tell people all the time that everyone needs a therapist. Obviously I have needed one on a full-time basis because I married one!
Through the years I have realized that contentment is a state of being. Our outlook always determines our outcome. If we want to have a good day, then we have to be determined to have a good day. Our joy cannot be taken from us, but we can freely give it up. We must think in terms of a thermometer and a thermostat. If our lives and emotional well-being are likened to a thermometer then we will rise and fall with all that is happening around us. Life will happen to us. But if our lives and emotional well-being are likened to a thermostat, then we get to set the level and we get to change the temperature around us. Instead of being affected, we affect the conditions around us. Life doesn’t happen to us. Instead, we embrace life and determine our course.
I would encourage you to set the tone of your life by practicing contentment. Instead of fretting over what you don’t have be thankful for what you do have. The greatest things in life are not about the things we have, but the people who have us. Practice contentment and begin enjoying life that you have always wanted.

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