How to Be Content with Yourself: Enjoy the Power of Contentment

By sunny breeze, member of sunnyray editorial staff

There is a great beauty when you become content with yourself, when you accept who you are and everything that you already have.

Don't get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with having goals... great and shiny goals. Goals like the one to improve your life, double your income, lose weight, write your first novel, run a marathon...

Having goals and being content with yourself are not two contradictory things, even if it may seem so. You can be extremely content with your life, with what you have and who you are, and at the same time strive for a goal.

More often than not, it is not the goal that matters, it is the journey to reach your goal that actually matters.

So, in a nutshell, contentment is not just being content with your life and not trying to change anything. Contentment is a matter of being content with yourself and at the same time striving to improve, to become a better human being, regardless of how happy and content you are.

a content person with a heart shape in her hands

In the following we will see some aspects of contentment and how it can do amazing things to our lives. In addition, we will discuss several strategies on getting to contentment in case you are not there already.

Happiness is self-contentedness. – Aristotle

Sure, you will say, there are times in our life when we are not happy, when things seem miserable, when we wish we had more.

Sometimes we are not content with the way things are. But please note that our outlook on life is usually the main contributor to our unhappiness.

We choose to be happy or unhappy.

Read the above sentence again. Even though you might disagree initially, if you are presently unhappy with your life, I bet it is because you have chosen to be unhappy. It sounds pretty unkind to say something like that, but as far as I'm concerned, it is totally true. I don't claim that this concept of happiness can be applied to everyone - especially in view of clinical depressions, massive tragedies, starving, and similar circumstances. But for most people, this concept applies.

Of course, you may have times when going to work isn't a pleasurable experience, when your life is a mess, when your relationships aren't going well, when your finances are rather bad, when you have extra weight. Everyone has had such times. But it is not that these conditions are making you unhappy - it is your choice of thoughts, feelings, attitude, and behavior.

When you are unhappy, you tend to focus on the bad things in your life. This behavior promotes inaction, and even depression. All this spills out to the people around you, making them unhappy too.

When you are happy, you tend to focus on the good things instead. Whereas you might have problems in your job, personal life, finances, or health, there are certainly some good things that are happening right now.

At least you have a job, or you are not sick! At least you have a home, or you are not bankrupt. Identify the good things in your life and you can turn yourself around whenever you have problems.

If you adopt this outlook on life, it can improve everything around you, including your relationships with those close to you. You can choose to be happy. You can choose to be happy with what you have, rather than being unhappy with the things you have not.

In addition, contentment can transform your entire life in many ways. Here is how:

Happiness

This is what we discussed already, but let us emphasize that being content and being happy are not totally the same. It is all about focus. Happiness is a state of being that can be influenced many different things, including contentedness.

Contentedness is a state of being fulfilled with what you already have. You can choose to be content, and if you do, chances are, you will be happy too.

As we said, there are many ways in which you can experience happiness, and contentedness is just one of them. But, it is a great way.

Simplicity

One definition of simplicity could be being content with less, rather than always wanting more and chasing for the next new thing. If you want to practice simplicity, you will have to solve that problem at its roots.

Always searching for something new and wanting more is a result of your not being content with what you already have. When you have learned to be content, you will stop chasing for more and start enjoying what you have.

Here is a tip. Nobody is bulletproof to new stuff. If it happens that you want something new, make sure it represents a genuine need. Make sure it is really something that you need, rather than desire. Examine why you want the new thing, and wait for several weeks before purchasing to make sure you really need it.

Finances

Usually we get into trouble with our finances because, we buy more things than we can afford. And we buy things that we want rather than need. So we come back to the fundamental issues of not being content with the things that we already have.

Try to find contentment with what you already have. Your simplicity will guide you into buying only the things that you need, so you will spend only what you can afford. Practicing contentedness is a great way to get anyone out of financial trouble.

Relationships

Learn to be content with you spouse or with the person you love. They will never change into behaving the way we want them to. So the only way to improve our relationships is to practice contentedness.

I know that this is not always easy, especially because we are trained to try to change other people. That's asking for trouble and a recipe for disaster. Instead we should do the opposite - to accept them the way they are.

If you have problem with this attitude, remind yourself that you love your partner as they are, for what they are. They are beautiful and perfect they way they are and there is absolutely no need for changing them.

Jobs

Are you content with your job? If you are not, I don't suggest that you should keep on enduring the angry outbursts of your boss. If you are not happy with it, by all means, change it.

That said, if you learn to be a content person, it will help you at any job. You won't be negative or grumpy. If you don't tend to always complain and if you have a positive attitude, you will almost certainly get more opportunities for promotions, job offers, and new projects.

Here are some tips as to how to get to contentment in your life:

  • Count all the good things in your life . That's by far the best way to achieve contentment. Whenever you are not content with something, take a moment and count all the blessings in your life. If you honestly do that, there will be many of them. So, let your focus be on what you have rather than on what you don’t have.
  • Don't try to change others . When you try to change other people, when you are not happy with them, restrain yourself. Take a moment, count to 5, and remind yourself that you should not be trying to change them. Instead, try to be happy with them for who they are. Think about all the good things and why you love them in the first place. Accept their negative character traits as part of their entire personality.
  • Postpone decisions about buying new things . If you feel the desire to buy something new, think about it. Is it something you need or something you want. If it’s something you want, postpone the decision. Take a couple of weeks, ideally a whole month. Put it on hold. If you still want it after that time windows, you can buy it. Ask yourself why you want it. What's wrong with what you already have?
  • Appreciate your life ! Reflect on your life. Think about all the pleasant moments in your life regularly. You can do that while you run, or watch the sunrise or sunset, or when you are out in nature. Be grateful for every little thing, for every person in your life, and thank them silently.
  • Express your appreciation . It is great to appreciate other people. But if you never show them your appreciation, it is kind of halfway. So, express your appreciation by giving them a smile, a hug, thanking them publicly, or spending time with them.
  • Enjoy the simple things . Learn to enjoy simple things. Like conversations, walks, and hanging out with other people. Whatever you do, no matter how small, how inexpensive, and how trivial, enjoy it. If you consider it for what it is, you will see it is awesome.
God’s gifts put man’s best dreams to shame. – Elizabeth Barrett Browning


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