There are lots of lists out there describing what people consider to be the most important things to do in life. And these lists have lovely sentiments. Find love. Appreciate your family. Do something you are passionate about. I don’t disagree with any of that advice. Those are important things. But all those lists avoid […]
Life is not meant to be a struggle. It is supposed to be relaxed. We are meant to go through our days being content and at ease.
Now, of course, we cannot expect to be relaxed and content all the time. Our loved ones can become ill or die. We may lose our jobs. Or we ourselves may become ill or injured. All of those situations are stressful, and of course, under such circumstances it is hard to be content.
Being Content Should Be Our Natural State
But barring such dramatic circumstances, you should be content with your life. Your home life and work life should be relaxed and enjoyable. Time should fly by during the day because you are happy and fully immersed whatever you happen to be doing. That is how we should be functioning each day.
The problem is that the world would have us believe otherwise. The world will tell you that human relationships are supposed to be stressful and fraught with conflict. Society will tell you that your job should be unpleasant, and that you should spend 8 to 10 hours a day doing something that you don’t enjoy. Otherwise it isn’t work! We are led to believe that suffering and struggle are a natural part of life, and that only a lucky few get to live in a state of contentment day after day. What a bunch of garbage.
There is no good reason that life should not be pleasant. You always should be living in a state of contentment, with your day-to-day existence being easy and interesting. But the only way to get to that state is to intentionally create that kind of life.
Below are ways to create contentment in your life. Consider applying them in your own life, and watch your happiness increase!
Become Content by Following Your Interests
So often in life, we struggle because we pursue careers that don’t match our interests. So, instead of having a work life that is enjoyable and is a good fit for us, we flail around pursuing a career that doesn’t suit us.
You cannot be content if your job doesn’t match your interests. For instance, you may have the intellectual aptitude to be a doctor or a stock broker. But if neither medicine nor finance actually interest you, then pursuing a career in either field will be a recipe for frustration. You will spend years of education and long hours at work pursuing a job that you don’t enjoy. And then your work truly will be work!
However, when what we do matches our interests, we are content. For example, my husband and I recently went to visit my daughter at college. This is her freshman year, and we were hoping she was having a good start. We were delighted to find that she was relaxed and extremely happy.
After the visit, I mentioned to her that I was thrilled to see her so at ease in her new environment. She said, “I’m not sure I should be this relaxed at college!” But she should be. Not only is she a good student, but she has chosen to study subjects that truly interest her. So, her school work is pleasurable. She is content because she is matching her work (her studies) with her interests.
And that is the key to being content in your professional life. You need to pursue what interests you. Then your work will be a pleasure.
To Be Content, Choose Relationships That Are Relaxed and Easy
I grew up in a home environment that was fraught with tension. So, I spent many years having the false belief that relationships naturally have conflict and stress. As a result, when I became an adult, I ended up being in relationships which were tense and difficult because I incorrectly believed that was how it had to be.
It took me a long time to realize that relationships are supposed to be relaxed and easy. They should be stress-free. And if they aren’t, then the relationships aren’t good and need to end.
Now, admittedly, conflict happens, even in the best of relationships. No relationship is perfect, and people disagree on occasion. But on the whole, your relationships generally should be conflict-free. If they aren’t, then you need to evaluate whether the relationship is salvageable, or whether it needs to go by the wayside.
So, if you want to be content, choose your relationships carefully. Be in relationships with people who are happy and at ease with themselves and with life. Realize that conflict and stress in a relationship is not normal, and if people bring that kind of negativity into your life, you need to let those relationships go.
To Create Contentment, Work on Your Spiritual Health
The sad truth is that there are many people who have it all, and yet, they are not content. I’ve known folks like this. They had great jobs and lovely families. Nevertheless, in spite of how blessed they were, they were miserable. You may ask, “How can this be?” Because to be content, you also have to be spiritually healthy.
When people are spiritually unhealthy, they are obsessed with themselves. Their every little dissatisfaction with themselves and with other people is a huge deal to them. Their perspective is askew because their world is just too small. You cannot be content with life if your world revolves around me, myself and I.
When we expand our interests to include the needs and concerns of others, then our world becomes bigger. And we gain some perspective. We realize that the tiny issues which we face during the day are inconsequential compared to what other people face in life. And then we are inspired to feel grateful for our own lives. As I always say, “There is someone out there who would love to have your life.” (To read more about becoming a positive thinker, click here.)
Developing A Spiritual Practice
A spiritual practice gets us out of our big, pumpkin heads and leads us to think about other people, and the world generally. Now, I don’t think there is any right spiritual practice. Instead, what is most important is that you find one that works for you.
For instance, my spiritual practice involves attending a Sunday morning church service. That is largely because I grew up going to a United Methodist Church, so that type of worship service is comfortable for me. But during the week, I also read books by Buddhist, Jewish and Christian authors.
My spiritual practice reminds me that my life isn’t simply about me. Rather, my life purpose is to serve God by serving the world, whether it be caring for other people or for God’s creatures (including the many pets who reside in my house!).
When I stop thinking about myself so much and consider the lives of others, it makes me realize how very lucky I am. I have a wonderful husband and a delightful daughter. I live in a nice home and have a financially comfortable life. How could I not be content?
So, if your life circumstances are good, and yet you still are not content, try focusing on your spiritual health. Attend religious services. Read spiritually uplifting books and articles. Pray or meditate. Do whatever is necessary to expand your perspective and learn to be grateful for what you have.
Every person should have a life that is relaxed and enjoyable. There is no good reason for life to be otherwise. The key is to make choices to create a life of contentment. Follow the approaches above and watch your contentment and happiness increase!
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