Happiness and Contentment


For as long as I can remember, I believed that being “being content” was what we settled for if we couldn’t be “happy”. So, when I started studying the Eastern ways of living, which promoted the ideas of living in the moment and being content in life, there was a disconnect. So, we just give up on being happy and settle for being content?

But as I studied the concepts of happiness and started realizing that you cannot “achieve” happiness, you can only experience it, it started to feel like I would just be on this constant happiness seeking treadmill. That didn’t sound very appealing at all.
 
“Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the realization of how much you already have.”

It was only when I started looking at contentedness as more of the place that we reside while we seek out experiences that will bring us happiness. Maybe, if we make it our goal to create as many happiness inducing experiences as possible, if that becomes our goal, then an overall feeling of contentedness is what we can experience long-term.

“Happiness comes after contentment.”
- E.A. Cabaltica

How do we know when we're content?
I prefer to think of this as living a life of contentment. An Eastern philosophical approach would say we are on the right path is when we are in harmony with:
  • Our past - No regrets and no guilt. We must address the causes, solve them, and then we must let them go.
  • Our present - Being in the moment (doing what we want, when we want, and with whom we want).
  • Our future - No worry. If you have a problem, fix it if it’s within your control and accept it if it isn’t, then move on. Having a purpose or major goal to be working toward can help us minimize these short-term problems.

Video - A Very Happy Brain - Spoiler alert: The pursuit of gratitude and compassion will make you happier than the pursuit of happiness.

Take care and I'll see you out there!

Jim