“If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans”.
“Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time”
– Max Ehrmann, author of Desiderata 1952.
“The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you are.”
– Robert Fulghum, author of “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”
I believe that to be truly alive we should be hopeful, always anticipating good things to happen; and I don’t infer that one should sustain a constant state of happiness 24/7 but having a considerable measure of optimism day to day is good for our wellbeing. This natural desire for something better than our current situation gives us something to look forward to and helps us aim high, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.
But you know that feeling of longing for something so desperately, you get it and then deflatingly discover that it’s not all that it seemed to be, or you don’t derive the satisfaction/fulfilment you thought it would give. It could be a new job, a new relationship, the thrill of acquiring material possessions which has diminished, a work promotion that doesn’t give you the pleasure you wanted etc. We then roll into the cycle of looking for the next thing, “something better”, struggling to achieve a balance between making the best of what our reality is, VERSUS thinking our life will be better when this or that happens. In a nutshell, we are left feeling dissatisfied and discontent.
This is what my post today is about. Reminding you that being content will make you emotionally strong and sharing 3 ways to cultivating it (especially in the era of more, more and more?).
I think that developing contentment is a lifelong process, one that can’t be ticked off a list like you’ll do grocery shopping. Some people may be better empowered to be content due to their sunny disposition to life etc. but for some other people, it is a constant struggle. How does one do it?
Someone I know once gave me an illustration-4 people are flight bound to South Africa (SA) for a vacation, the 1st is coming from Japan, the 2nd from Australia, the 3rd from Nigeria and the 4th from India. The Japanese takes 15 hours to arrive, the Australian 12 hours, the Nigerian 6 hours and the Indian 9 hours. Did they all arrive in SA? Yes. Did they all arrive in SA at the same time? No. Everyone arrived in SA but they did at different times. Trust the timing of your life. It is pointless to compare the 2nd phase of your life to someone 4th or to any phase at all really. If anything, this is one of the main reasons why a comparison is pointless. Are you going to use someone else’s achievements to measure your own life, or are you going to measure it on your own terms?
Contentment is not settling for mediocrity, it is not the denial of difficulties or pressures, nor is it the easing off on your pursuit of your life’s goals or not wanting to be better, it is the ability to attain and sustain an equilibrium in whatever stage of life you are in.
Restating these ideals to myself on a regular basis help me to stay content in my life and hopefully, they will help you too.
Thanks so much for stopping by today. Till we chat again, keep shining, share this blog with your awesome tribe and remember that being content will make you emotionally strong. XOXOXO
PS: If you haven’t read the full Desiderata poem by Max Ehrmann yet, I urge you to. It provides some interesting perspectives…