How to live a contented life.
How many of us are contented with our lives and possessions we have now? Or like many of us, are you always striving for more? There is really nothing wrong with working to better your situation in life as long as you don’t let your drive become an obsession that takes over every aspect of your life. Ask yourself if you are working toward goals that will make you feel better about yourself or are you working towards things that you think you have to possess or own in order to be happy? Do you find yourself thinking “If only I …. then I would be content with my life.”
Oftentimes we strive to have what we see others have or do what others are doing in their lives. It makes us unsatisfied with our own lives. It makes us feel that we are not working as hard as we should be and we feel lazy in our own endeavors to have a happy, contented life. How often do you look at your neighbors and think if only my house were as big as theirs, if only my car was a new as theirs, if only my children would behave as well as theirs, and so on? With this type of mind frame we are setting ourselves up for discontentment and failure in our own eyes. This mindset is known as keeping up with the Jones.
“When you are discontent, you always want more,
more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied.
But when you practice contentment, you can say
to yourself, ‘Oh yes-I already have everything
that I really need.'” Dalai Lama
Now you need to ask yourself how do I practice contentment when I am so unhappy with my life.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR CONTENTMENT!
NO ONE ELSE CAN GIVE IT TO YOU!
First you must change the way you look at your life. Be grateful for the things that you have in your life, whether it be money, possessions, or people.
Turn being grateful into a verb. Practice being grateful. Keep a gratitude journal. Find a pretty one that makes you happy just to look at it. Write in it daily or weekly. Focus on the good things that have happened not the bad. Do not go more than a week before sitting down and listing the good things. Make your gratitude journal your friend.
Begin simplifying your life. You don’t have to say yes to everything that is asked of you. Many times we agree to take on more than we can manage just so we can tell people how busy we are. But in reality it doesn’t make us content with our lives.
Before saying yes to another project ask yourself these questions:
1. Do I really want to do this?
2. Do I have the time to commit to this project?
3. What will happen if I say no?
Don’t just simplify you activities, simplify your home. Is your home full of things that are not used or appreciated? Is your home always cluttered and disorganized? Do you know that a cluttered home causes anxiety and discontentment?
1. Find new homes for those items that you no longer need or use. Do you really want that little ceramic lizard from your trip to Florida 10 years ago?
2. If you’re like me, there is a lot of paperwork that needs to be filed away or just thrown away. What are we waiting for?
3. At lease twice a year, go through your closets and discard any clothes you longer wear. Either donate it, pass it on to other family members, or sell it.
4. Finally, declutter your finances. Start paying off those little credit cards that require so much of your money. It also takes more time when working on a budget. Don’t those little $15, $20 payments irritate you? What could you be doing with that money?
Luke 12:15 NIV Then he said to them, “Watch out!
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life
does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
If our lives are continually cluttered with projects, activities, and things, it leaves little time to enjoy life. If we can’t enjoy life, how can we be contented with our lives?
It is not selfish to focus on ourselves. Before we can perform at our premium level. We have focus on ourselves to be contented with our lives.
Now that we have decluttered various areas of our lives, we will have more time to devote not only to others, but also to ourselves. How are we going to do that?
1. How do you relax? Take a bubble bath with scented
candles, read a book, take a walk, or something else.
It’s alright to want to find some alone time. If you
don’t want to be alone with yourself, how to you
expect anyone else to want to be around you? Find
something that relaxes you. Get away from the busyness and demands of life occasionally.
2. I am a big believer that everyone needs some sort of hobby, something they like doing. I enjoy sewing,
photography, reading, crafting, and writing. I
recently joined a local writer’s guild. I can focus on
what I like to do and socialize with others who enjoy
the same things. Find something you like to do and do it. Make time for things you enjoy. It will make you
more contented with your life. Pursue your passion!
Find a purpose for your life.
3. Learn how to organize! Don’t organize just your home, but your activities also. I have 3 calendars and am getting ready to add a fourth. I keep one in my phone. (I am thankful for smart phones. To read the rest of this gratitude post click here.) I have my notebook sized calendar that has a various sections for things like blogging , expenses, plus more, and I have my work desk calendar. The fourth calendar I’m planning on adding is a magnetic one to hang on the refrigerator so the adults can all see the various kids’ activities. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember for one of us to remember to tell the other of upcoming dates.
Set some short term and long term goals. What do you want to accomplish within the next year, the next month, the next week, or today? Write them down. Just remember, these are goals to work toward, to help you stay focused. Sometimes life gets in the way of these goals, but just start over. I set my monthly goals and I have goals set for the next 1001 days (read 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days). I have daily things I want to accomplish, but sometimes they just don’t get done. When they do though, it makes me happy and that leads to my contentment with my life. I don’t beat myself up over it.
Finally, LOVE YOURSELF! There is no one like you. God created you in His image and God does not make mistakes. We do. Accept that and learn from your mistakes. Learn to laugh at your mistakes. Enjoy your mistakes, they are how you learn and grow. Stop demeaning yourself. Without mistakes you wouldn’t learn how to do it right. Stop trying to be perfect, because that is an impossible task. How can you be content if you are always trying to be perfect, something you nor I can ever be?
That doesn’t mean give up. Keep working toward getting it right, for you.
“The world is full of people looking for spectacular
happiness while they snub contentment.” Doug Larson
By applying these principles to your life, you will find the happiness and contentment that you are continually searching for.
“Eventually, we reach the point where we start to realize that we are not going to find peace, contentment, happiness, strength, fearlessness – all of the things that in our heart of hearts we wish we had – outside of us.” Guy Finley
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