Being content gets a bad reputation. Some might think that being content is a step below happiness. Others think being content is settling for less than they deserve. Also, according to dictionary.com, content has nothing to do with your state of mind or your emotional health. So that doesn’t help the bad reputation content already has. If you can’t even find a definition of it being something to do with emotions, how on earth can you tell someone that being content is a good thing?
Well, that is what I am going to tackle. I believe being content is the key to true happiness. If you are constantly chasing something, looking for happiness, you will never catch it. It is like chasing perfection. It’s a marathon with no finish line. If you are looking for happiness in your significant other or your friends, you are going to be miserable. While being around certain people can lift our moods, it is not their responsibility to make you happy. That is a huge expectation to put on someone and it’s unrealistic. No person will make you happy every single time you talk to them. These other people you are trusting with your happiness are human. Humans are nowhere near the spectrum of perfect. They are going to make mistakes just like you make mistakes. If people are the reason you get to be happy, what happens when that person offends you on accident? Or hurts you unintentionally. People don’t wake up in the morning and think about how they will make all the mistakes that day, but mistakes still happen.
The truth is that only you can be responsible for your happiness. Happiness is a choice which is why I believe happiness lies in being content. Being content is also a choice. You have to decide that you are okay, you have everything you need and that you are good where you are. Things change constantly, life throws huge curve balls and places hurdles to jump over. Imagine if your happiness was ONLY in your job and you lost it. What then? Do you live your life being miserable all the time? I’m not talking about losing your job and instantly being happy after being told you no longer have a job. I’m talking about a month later or even a few weeks later. Are you just going to sit and stew because you lost the only thing that made you happy? How could that situation be different if your happiness was because you were content with everything else in your life?
I’m generally a happy person. Even growing up with all the curve balls and hurdles placed in front of me, I kept a smile on my face. Growing up, I didn’t know that there was another option, to be honest. I didn’t know that you could be unhappy about something. I knew when I didn’t like things but I couldn’t control anything in my life so I sort of just had to ride the wave. Riding the waves taught me a lot, I became adaptable to change. Change seems scary. I won’t lie, every time things start to change in my life my stomach knots up a little bit. I could allow my emotions to take over and think of everything wrong that could happen and dwell on it. OR. See, there is another option here. Or, I could decide that no matter what happens, I’ll be okay. I am alive and that is the most important thing. My son is thriving and happy. That is important to me. My husband and I are pursuing our dreams. That is important to me. Nothing can take that away from me. Nobody can take away my dreams or goals. Nobody can take away my husband’s dreams and goals. Nobody can stop us from pursuing them. These are all things that are going on in our lives and we’re okay with that. We are okay with finally pursuing our dreams and goals now instead of comparing ourselves to others who have already accomplished something they have set out to do. We also have faith and nobody can take God from us.
Life is all about change, seasons change, people grow, businesses open and close. Hardly anything ever seems constant anymore. Even the friends you thought would be around forever might not be around much anymore. Which is why I argue that you should be content with where you are at and what you have and when the waves start crashing in, you can adjust and be okay with whatever happens next. There are a lot of things in life that you cannot control. Being happy and being content with where you are at is one of the things you can control.
In the spirit of being content and enjoying exactly where I am in life. We are doing a year of no spending challenge. Another awesome blogger I follow, Miranda, has done this and is the inspiration for our family challenge. She also has a podcast and in one of the episodes, she talks all about her family’s experience during their year of no spending.
So for us, we are not buying anything non-essential. We are also challenging ourselves to buy our stuff online so we don’t have to go to stores. (Also, going to stores takes more work for me these days so this part of the challenge is also to help me out.) Part of this challenge is also not adding to the things we already have. We are still figuring out exactly what that looks like for us and what is realistic and doable for us. The one thing I can say for sure we are not buying this year is toys. My son has plenty.
Basically, my husband and I talked about how we wanted to be doing more and not consumed by our to-do list or obligations. (This is mainly a problem for me, my husband usually just has to work around me and that isn’t always fair.) We wanted to be spending more time as a family. The goal is to become more family time focused and more fun time focused. Going to stores is cool and all but stores are not experiences. My son is already 4 and I still feel like I just had him. I’ve been told that it will feel the same even when he is 18. If he is going to be growing up when I blink, I want that blink to be full of awesome memories instead of me wondering where I was.
With wanting to be more family time and fun time focused, we have a few challenges we have started. This no-spending challenge is one of them. I’ll be sharing more about them in future posts.
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So, to recap- being content is a choice. Being happy is also a choice and true happiness lies in being content. The things we chase after do not really make us happy. Also, being miserable is also a choice. You define yourself, nothing else does unless you allow it to.