By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
We know about wants and needs, pain, and suffering but what about contentment?
Contentment has been defined variously as “calm satisfaction” or the feeling you get when you reach your destination. Some say it includes ease of mind making it a very rare commodity indeed.
One traditional belief was that you worked hard here on earth, lived correctly, and then when you died you go to heaven, or something like that, where you are allowed to finally be happy and contented. With the decline in religious beliefs, it is becoming difficult for people to fathom the idea of waiting until you die to finally be happy or contented.
There are some who would argue that contentment is not a good thing. Contented people are happy where they are. Contented people enjoy the journey and are in no rush to reach their destination. Most of us live life as if we can’t wait for it to be over.
There are those who argue that human progress is dependent on pain. That without an unhappiness people would become lazy and unmotivated. There is no denying that pain can motivate. Some find it hard to give up their belief that we need to be in pain and suffering. They tell us that it is part of the human condition. In truth, the pain may happen to all of us but the suffering is optional.
Two people can live is similar life circumstances, experience similar pain or trauma and one is able to maintain their attitude while the other suffers. The difference is not in what they experience but in their attitude towards the events of their life.
One source of unhappiness is the constantly moving expectations we set for our lives and ourselves. When your goal is “more” no amount of having can get you there.
Many a person who has struggled to reach a goal finds a deep depression after their accomplishment. They lack the ability to appreciate what they have accomplished, always wanting more.
Contentment is the emotional equivalent of eating. Some people are driven to eat long after the hunger has been satiated. You can feel intense pain if having arrived at a goal you are unable to enjoy that success and need to constantly be chasing the next one.
Those who do things because they love what they do, in addition to finding they may be paid to do what they would want to do anyway, also find that they are happy and content because they are enjoying the journey not fretting about the goal.
One great source of contentment is having friends and a positive support system. People who have supportive others in their life are more likely to be content. Extroverts find it easy to be with and around others and are often happy as a result. But introverts who make conscious efforts to develop and maintain a positive relationship with others are also more likely to be content.
Reaching a goal that you have set for yourself is extremely important in achieving happiness and contentment. People who have struggled to reach a goal in order to please a parent or other person in their life are frequently disappointed when reaching that goal is hollow and emotionally unrewarding. Make sure the goal you are working on is one that matters to you.
While poverty may make us unhappy, no amount of money seems to make people content. As our income or wealth expands beyond our basic needs so do our expectations. The wealthy pay larger bills than the poor but are often no more content. As you climb the pyramid the danger of being pushed off rises. The truly content person is able to pause and enjoy the things they have accomplished, the friends they have, and give themselves credit for what they have accomplished along the way.
Contentment we find is not so much a feeling as it is a skill that you can practice any time or place you find yourself.
- Shrinking the world by studying a rock (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Danger at the crossroad – changes you can’t take back (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Inventorying you baggage (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Learning to feel (counselorssoapbox.com)
- How heavy is your baggage – Unpacking your baggage (counselorssoapbox.com)
- What do you most want in your life? (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Your autobiography as therapy (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Annual Happiness Drive – Please contribute some happiness (counselorssoapbox.com)
- Guilt and Shame (counselorssoapbox.com)
- The problem easy button (counselorssoapbox.com)
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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I believe that the contentment is the result of us being allowed to be ourselves. Most of us grow up according to the value of others. We are expected to do what is “right” or “good”; which usually means what is right or good for the society. It seems that Freud was right about “Civilization and its Discontents” .
Some people give in too easily and others struggle too long and hard, either way we let society shape us. Thanks for the comment.