How to Be Content

When we’re young, we have all these fantastic ideas of how we want our futures to look. We’ve got our dream job planned. We can picture the house we want. Our perfect family. In our fantasies, we’re happy. But life rarely goes the way we expect. When we’re not living the life we planned, it can be hard to feel happiness. The secret to life is to learn how to be content.

What Does it Mean to Be Content?

You may be wondering why you would want to settle for being content instead of striving for happiness. You see, being happy is a fleeting emotion that occurs when things are going right. Naturally, you want to be happy at all times. But when things are going awol, happiness might be the last thing you’re feeling.

When you’re dealing with a complication in your life, it can be easy to get caught up in the negative emotions. You tend to focus on all the problems you’re facing and lose sight of all the good things you’ve got going on. We’ve all been there. Tell me, when you’re dealing with stress, are you feeling happy?

Of course not. Happiness is an emotion that arises when things are good. Just like sadness is an emotion that occurs when you’re dealing with something sad or wrong. Emotions vary based on what we’re going through. But being content, that can be done no matter what your emotional state.

To be content, you feel satisfied with what you have, even if you don’t have everything you want. When you feel contentment in your life, you don’t whine about not having the new iPhone. Instead, you are appreciative that you have a phone that serves its purpose while saving up enough money to get the new phone you desire.

How to Be Content

When you’re content, you are appreciative of everything you have in your life. Even if you don’t have the nicest car, you are grateful every time your rust bucket cranks up. Your job might not be the one you’ve always wanted, but at least you have a source of income. Being content means that you know things will always work out in the end and that things can always be worse.

Contentment is a mindset. When you have the power of positive thinking, you learn how to live in the moment. You know how to focus on the present, which makes it easier not to dwell on the things that you don’t have. Yesterday is over. Tomorrow is not promised. You have to live your best life today.

When you live without learning how to be content with your life, you might notice that you often feel flustered or out of sync. You often take for granted all the things you have in your life that you should be thankful for, like your health, your family and friends, a roof over your head, a job.

If you have just one of these things, you’re better off than some. If you have all of them, you are blessed beyond recognition. You should remember that other people would give anything to have what you have. You might not have the best, but at least you have something. Which is always better than nothing.

Tips for How to be Content

If you want to know the secret to being happy, it’s simple. You have to learn how to become content with your life. If you’re ready to do that, we want to help. There are ways that you can learn how to be content with your life so you can spend more time living and less time whining about what you don’t have. Here are some tips so you can learn how to be content.

Step One – Be Grateful

If you want to feel true contentment in your life, learn how to be grateful. Everyone has things to be appreciative of, even if you don’t realize it. The best way to learn how to be thankful for the stuff you have is to make a list. Think about the good things in your life, even if they don’t have a monetary value.

A lot of people are unsure about what they should show gratitude for. Of course, you should have an appreciation for your material possessions. Who isn’t grateful for their phone or their brand new dream car? But what about the things you can’t buy? What are some small things that make your life better?

For me, it’s hot water. Having awesome water pressure and a water heater that can sustain my preference for scorching hot liquid lava temperatures is a source of heaven for me. A hot shower can cure any ailment, from a headache to aching muscles to a bad day full of stress.

I’m also grateful each day that I have been blessed with four amazing children who blow my mind – and my fuse – with their antics. I have wonderful parents who have been my backbone as I’ve stumbled my way through life. A few close relatives I would do anything for and who are always there when I need anything. And some of the best friends a person could want.

And every night, I thank the powers that be for blessing me with an amazing man who gets “me.” I never thought I’d be in a stable relationship. I never expected to find someone who can accept me as I am, quirks, flaws, and all. And yet when I finally accepted my life as it was, when I became content with the new changes – my new freedom – the universe decided to put him right into my path. The world does work in mysterious ways. And there’s always a right time for everything.

Step Two – Embrace the Power of Positive Thinking

To be content, you have to be able to see all sides of a situation. You may not realize it, but your thoughts have the power to control your emotions and your perspective. When you dwell on negative situations, it’s easy to forget about the other side of the script. But things are rarely black and white, good or bad, right or wrong.

You have to teach your mind how to focus on the entire situation, rather than dwelling on the bad parts. If you’re irritated that your work schedule got changed, meaning you have to cancel plans with your friends, try looking at it differently. True, your plans might have changed.

But be grateful that you have a source of employment. You could be one of the thousands that are struggling to find a job that can provide enough income to be financially stable. Your new schedule may require you to work hours you weren’t supposed to. But your bank account will be benefiting, not just from the income of your extra shift, but also from the money you saved by not going out.

When you’re ready to reschedule your plans, you can have an even bigger budget for your night out, which means you could do something more fun than you’d initially planned. Maybe instead of just one day, you could go away for an overnight trip out of town or even a weekend away. Stop focusing on how something isn’t the way you expected. Try to see the blessing in the situation, even if it’s not apparent at first.

Step Three – Indulge in Guilty Pleasures

Adulting is hard work. It’s the most stressful situation I’ve ever encountered. And that’s saying something considering that I’m the overworked, exhausted, borderline insane mother of four. There’s always something to do, a problem you need to solve. Something broke. Bills need to be paid. An unexpected expense rears its’ ugly head.

It’s hard to feel happy when things seem to be falling apart right in front of your eyes. A secret I’ve learned over the years is that unexpected stuff is going to happen, no matter how prepared you try to be. If you let yourself stress about every situation that doesn’t go the way you expect it to, you’re going to be wasting a lot of your life.

With age comes wisdom, usually because we’ve done enough stupid stuff in our youth to make us smarter adults. One of the smartest things I’ve learned about being an adult is how to appreciate the little things. A hot cup of coffee on a winter morning. A beautiful sunset after a dreary day of rain. The innocence in a baby’s laugh.

If you want to live a contented life, you have to discover your guilty pleasures. Find small things in your life that bring you joy. Maybe it’s something that makes you smile. Or it could bring you peace. Or perhaps it’s something that you find fun.

For me, my guilty pleasure is a weekly river ride. My boyfriend and I jump in our pickup truck and hit the backroads. We take a fifty-mile round trip through all the gravel roads in our area. We look for deer. We jam to music. We talk about our day. This time together is our date night. It’s our chance to destress and unwind. There’s no cell service, so we can’t focus on work. We focus on nature and each other.

Step Four – Know Your Worth

To be content, you have to accept your true self, including your flaws and assets. Far too often, we focus on things about ourselves that displease us. Maybe you have a penchant for always running late. Or you snort when you laugh. Or you still have to use your fingers to solve simple math when you’re stressed.

It’s easier for us to acknowledge our faults than it is for us to think of things we like. We live in a time where everyone is constantly trying to be better. We’re always working to improve ourselves, whether it’s going back to school to keep up to date with our career, or changing our daily routines for healthier habits.

When you learn to be content, you stop putting pressure on yourself to do better, to be better. You are aware of what you bring to the table. You have respect for yourself and what you’re currently capable of, without stressing about what you’re not able to accomplish. You might set goals to improve something eventually, but you aren’t beating yourself up because you aren’t already doing it.

To start being content with yourself and your worth, start by writing out a list of all the qualities about yourself that you do admire. For myself, I would list:

  • Strength
  • Determination
  • Resilience
  • Compassion
  • Loyalty
  • Honesty
  • Dedication

Step Five – Stop Worrying About Changing

A common occurrence for people is that once they get something they’ve been wanting, they move on to obtaining the next thing they desire. At your job, you may be working your way up the corporate ladder, receiving promotion after promotion. In a relationship, you usually go from dating to engaged to married to having kids. If you live in an apartment, you might be dreaming of buying a house.

It seems like we’re always rushing towards the next step without taking the time to enjoy what we’re currently experiencing. Y’all, life goes by so much quicker than you think. If you’re always rushing to move on to the next phase in an attempt to have this perfect life you’ve planned, you’re wasting valuable time that you might not get back.

It’s okay to have ambitions and goals to work towards. But don’t let your life revolve around trying to obtain a fantasy future. When you’re content with your life, you imagine the future, but you know that the world is full of possibilities. Instead of trying to force your life into the direction of your next step, you enjoy the journey your life is taking. You take your time working towards your next opportunity.

The world is an enormous place, and there is an unlimited number of things you could do with your life. Embrace every experience you go through, even if it’s not what you’d planned or it’s not what you’re wanting. Sometimes, life has a way of giving us exactly what we didn’t know we needed. Be open to what life has to show you. You’d be surprised how often things work out better than you’d ever planned.

Step Six – Live in the Present

A lot of people feel stuck in life. Maybe they’re not experiencing satisfaction at work, or they’re striking out in the relationship area. For some people, they’re stuck because they can’t get over the past. When you experience a sudden trauma or life disruption, it can make you feel trapped. You might forget how to live a healthy life.

For me, I had trouble moving on with my life after experiencing a very rocky and abusive, eleven-year relationship. I was so traumatized by my experiences that I thought I would never be able to return to a state of normalcy. Every situation I found myself in, I would imagine how it would have gone with my ex. The next thing you knew, I’d be having a panic attack.

The hardest thing about memories is that they can take you right back to the scene of the crime. You can experience the same emotions, the same trauma over and over again, just from thinking about the situation. But when you keep reliving the past, you’re giving it power over you.

No matter what you do, you won’t be able to change the outcome of what happened. It’s over. The only reason it’s still affecting you now is that you’re letting it. When you learn to focus on the day to day living, you have less time for the memories. Once you’ve become content, you’re able to look back on your painful memories without being emotionally disturbed.

Step Seven – Stop Comparing

Far too often, we experience dissatisfaction with what we have because we’re too busy focusing on something better or maybe newer. We usually do this with our personal qualities as much as we do our possessions. The problem is we’re comparing ourselves to other people.

Trying to compare yourself to another person is a slippery slope. We’re all unique. We each have different ways of doing things. Everyone thinks differently. And each person has their unique perspectives and experiences which make them into the person they are.

I’m a stay at home mom who makes a career out of writing articles while living in the suburbs of a small community. My friend is a high priced attorney with no kids who lives in a condo downtown. If you compare our two lives, who would you say has the better one? Her because she makes more money and has a nicer place? Or me, because I have a family, a home, and a simple career?

There are things about her life I envy, as she feels about mine. But we’re both happy with how our lives have turned out. They work for us, but they wouldn’t be right for each other. When you’re content with your life, you appreciate everything you’ve got because it’s part of your life’s path. You don’t dwell on what other people have because you know they have different circumstances.

I can’t hate my friend for taking lavish vacations just because it would cost me a fortune to take my family to the same place. Instead, I appreciate the fact that I can provide my children with an affordable if less exotic vacation that they’ll get to enjoy. The fancy places can wait until they’re grown. I’ve only got them for a little while longer before they start their own lives.

Step Eight – Discover Your Purpose

I’m a firm believer that we all have a grand purpose in life. And I’m not the only one. In fact, psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed that we won’t be able to find true fulfillment in life until we’ve achieved our life’s goals. We all have a hidden talent that brings us pleasure.

For me, it’s writing. I’ve always loved being able to use the written word to entertain my readers – whether it’s introducing them to a magical world far, far away, or by inspiring them with my life stories. I feel peace when I’m lost in my world of writing.

Many people know what their purpose is at a young age. Maybe you realized early on that you had a fantastic voice. Or you had mad skills with the violin. Some people have athleticism as a talent. But unfortunately, most people give up on their purpose for the goal of stability. Trying to be an actress isn’t the best career move to make right out of high school when you have zero money saved up.

If you want your life to feel fulfilled, you have to find something you’re passionate about. What makes you feel whole? What feels, right? If you’re not sure, take time to try new things. You could have a hidden talent, just waiting to be explored. When you are doing what you’re meant to do, you will feel an ultimate sense of contentment.

Step Nine – Improve Your Relationships

Life can be mighty lonely when you’re going at it by yourself. You need someone to celebrate your triumphs with; someone with whom you share your grief, your fears, your problems. In truth, you need numerous people for different areas of your life.

Sometimes, you have to categorize. You might want to keep your work life separate from your personal life, as is often common for doctors, lawyers, and law enforcement. In these cases, it helps to have a group of trustworthy people you could turn to.

When you’re content in life, you understand the value of three loyal friends over twenty acquaintances. You put effort and time into building your relationships. You invest because you know that you’re gaining as much as you’re putting in.

Being content doesn’t mean settling for what you have so that you can say you have it. Don’t marry the person you’re currently dating if you have nothing in common, and you don’t feel excited every time you even think about them. Be picky with your time. It’s okay to be casual and not settle down. But don’t waste your time when you know it’s not right.

Step Ten – Help Others

When you’ve learned to be content with your life, you find that you want to share your knowledge with others. We like to share our experiences as a way to bond with each other. As a way to help other people who might be going through the same situation. It’s often comforting to hear that someone understands.

You might be the kind of person that everyone comes to for help. Or maybe you offer your advice to someone after they’ve explained their situation. Other people like to help by donating money to charities, unwanted items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, or by volunteering.

Helping others is good for your soul. Focusing on someone else’s problems can help you put your own issues into perspective. You often realize that things aren’t as bad as you may think they are. Someone out there is always dealing with something much worse.

When you help other people, you’re making an impact that could alter their entire life. This builds up good karma. Often, someone you help will go on to assist someone else, paying the gift forward. You feel a sense of pride in their success. Life is so much better when we’re rooting each other on instead of being jealous of each other’s successes.

When You’re Content, It’s Easier to Be Happy

In a perfect world, you would always be happy. You’d never have any problems or hard decisions to make. Everything would be, well, perfect. But this is the real world. It’s messy, and it’s chaotic. Things rarely go as we plan.

But, when you look at your life the right way, you often find beauty within the chaos. Don’t be scared of deviating off track if that’s where life takes you. Be content with where life has you at the moment while preparing for your future. Appreciate your blessings, for there are many. The fact that you woke up this morning is a blessing that you shouldn’t take for granted.

It may take some practice, but you can learn to find contentment in your life by appreciating the small gifts you experience every day. When you feel content with what you have, you see more reasons to be happy. You’ll always want more if you don’t learn to be satisfied with what you have.

Be Content. Be Happy.

Using our helpful tips, you can learn how to be content in your life. When you’re satisfied with what you have, you can be happier more often. Who wouldn’t want to live a happier life? I know I did. And once I learned how to be genuinely content instead of worrying about what I didn’t have, I found a sense of freedom. Now, so can you. Be content, my friends. Be happy.

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