Recently, I have found myself spending an abundance of time philosophizing about what happiness means to us and why exactly we are so desperately trying to pursue it.
Shouldn’t it be within us? Do we really need to work for it?
As I examined what happiness meant to me, I discovered that I was remembering happy moments. Yes, happy moments, not a happy life.
Happiness is incredibly beautiful. It is not meant to stay, though; it is a short-term feeling that might be influenced by external factors. Contentment, on the other hand, is within us and is rarely sabotaged by external factors.
It is not a question of whether contentment is better than happiness. The question is, why are we not urged to look for contentment when it lasts longer than happiness?
Contentment is the gratitude and peace that lingers.
It is knowing I have everything I need while happily continuing to improve myself. It is knowing I have choices and am not afraid to make decisions and mistakes. It is knowing I am imperfect and don’t want to change that. It is the state of satisfaction that we often fail to reach in our pursuit of happiness.
Contentment means we can fully respect and accept the present in its reality. Let that sink in: “Fully respect and accept the present in its reality.”
How can we fully accept the present and its reality when we are programmed to complain and worry?
In winter, we dream of spring. When spring arrives in all its beauty, we wish for summer, and then in summer—the time we have been waiting for all year—we don’t like our bodies.
Doesn’t make any sense, does it? We wonder why so many of us are deeply dissatisfied with our lives, why so many of us experience happiness only when using substances, why so many of us struggle with our mental health when the answer is painfully obvious:
Work on finding contentment instead of chasing happiness.
The present moment passes on us so quickly we tend to overlook its importance. We are obsessively considering the future, addicted to dwelling on the past, and never fully allowing ourselves to enjoy the moment.
Be content—right here, right now.
Value the things you have and be okay with everything that is missing. Be content with your surroundings; be content with yourself. Be at peace when things happen in your favor and be just as thankful when they don’t.
We let the most beautiful and happiest moments slip through our hands because no one has ever taught us to sit still.
We can be happy in the moment while being unsatisfied with our overall situation. We can also go through an unhappy phase, even though we are permanently content. Eliminating the ups and downs in life is impossible, and neither is better than the other. I am certain, however, that contentment is needed to experience pure happiness.
Eckhart Tolle says, “We should purify our innate well of contentment, and then external things will be in harmony with us.”
From my own personal journey, I share this with you:
Once you finally accept reality, you become grateful. When you’re grateful and accepting, you become content, and when you are content, happiness hits you differently.