Definition: comfort, happiness
Antonyms: discomfort, discontent, displeasure, dissatisfaction, misery, sadness, unhappiness
Do you ever feel contented -- just the wrap your arms around yourself and smile kind of contentment or satisfaction with your life? I am talking about the "I love my life," kind of joy that comes when you feel your version of safe and happy?
The reason I am asking is that I have run into lots of people lately who seem to have no idea about that kind of feeling. I was floored with astonishment. Call me naive, or maybe even a little dense, but I really thought that most people had a handle on happy -- perhaps not both hands around it securely, but a least a now version of it clutched in their fingertips.
If I can share some insight or be helpful, I am always so happy to do it, so that attitude has often led to conversation safety in which people can share stuff with me. In discussing various topics in this blog site, some people have opened up to me and talked about some pretty intimate issues. You know what I have noticed? For many, many people, the art of feeling or recognizing contentment with their own lives is missing. Satisfaction with their lives seems to be illusive and skipping over the next horizon of achievement, love, lover, house, car, honor, title, job, room makeover, self makeover, makeover makeover. Well, I exaggerated that last part a bit, but not much. This quote by Murray Bookchin sums it up...
"People are never free of trying to be content." - Murray Bookchin
What is going on? Do we really not understand what defines us? Is it a severe case of the if only, as in if only I had chosen that other job or bought that other house or lost that 20 lbs., or (sigh) fallen in love with or married someone else? Or, do we not have a flippin' clue what we want?
I am running screaming straight into the jungle...waving my arms... see them? Darlings, each and everyone one...don't you know that you are loved just because you are you? And, please don't miss the fact that YOU can love you, just because you are you. My God you don't have to work so hard at this. I want to pat people on the back and say, "it's gonna be okay," then I want to give them a swift kick and whisper through clenched teeth, "work at it."
If we had all the answers all the time, we could all lie around and eat peaches...oooh, with cream. Discontent is the casual (or not) feeling that something is always not quite right and needs something else to fix it or complete it. Contentment is knowing that life is flexible and has curves and winding turns and requires our participation...and that we are good for it. That is the part...the intuition or gut instinct that seems to be missing...that thing that helps us to understand and know that IT IS going to be alright and we can do it, take it, change it, accept it, live with it and move forward. We are not paralyzed or inadequate or incapable or silly or stupid or afraid to think and act. We absolutely have the power to make decisions that make us happy.
That stupid saying so popular right now...No worries...is offered up on a plate like cold gravy. It is an insult. It might as well be a bat. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what the intent of it is supposed to be. However, it is the intellectual equivalent of telling someone he or she is half-witted and has miss-stepped." Ok, I feel better having gotten that off my chest.
Are you really unhappy? What is it you want? Please realize that new car probably isn't going to do it for you. Neither is that new job title or moving to Vermont. These are symbols of some version of a success script you have written. Now, I am not saying I don't love a new car like a hug around the neck, but c'mon, if you are just grazing through life's high points to get yourself by until the next one, at some point, you just gotta sit down and turn the gaze inward and ask the difficult questions. Or, how about this, stop all of that and just look up, say, Thanks to the universe and Know. Know that you have the where-with-all, the guts, the heart, the innate ability for appreciation and gratitude for your life...and that... that carries with it the grace to feel peace.
Yep, here is my take on it...we have to work at peace and contentment, if only through the thoughts and actions of gratitude. Gratitude and appreciation will move you from self-pity to the recognition of all that you have in your possession. When we get a real understanding of that big picture, the steps we need to take, come. When we take the steps, we feel empowered, our self-esteem rises and we feel even better. It really is very simple, so let's stop beating ourselves up...okay? Step by step, know. Step by step, appreciate. Step by step, love. Step by step, think. Step by step, feel the love and strength and goodness that surrounds you. Step by step, you will know what to do.