|What is Contentment?|
Several years ago, there was a popular television show entitled "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". This program followed celebrities on trips to hideaways on lush tropical islands, into restaurants where one meal would cost an average person's weekly income, or to hotels, which defied imagination and luxury. The rich drove expensive, fast cars and wore designer clothes. Many of us of us who watched the program, believed that if we could only have a small portion of what a famous person had, we would be happy and content.
As a society, we love things and we have loads of "stuff". Some of us have so much stuff we don't know where to put it, or we store it away and then forget where it is. A lot of our stuff is never used once the new wears off. We are targets for advertisements for things from the time we are children watching Saturday morning cartoons, through youth and mid life to retirement years. But the reality is that things and "stuff" don't buy happiness or contentment.
The German inventor of the high-speed printing press, Frederick Koenig, (1774-1833) noted," We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
This is certainly true, especially in the hard economic times that we face. We must learn that having the latest "thing" does not promise us happiness. In fact, what you do have, more than likely, does not need to be replaced by the newest gizmo, fad or fashion on the market. It is important that we learn to value and appreciate what we do have at the moment.
There are many things, which can make us happy and content, even in times of trouble. The love and respect of family and friends is of utmost importance. They provide encouragement and a shoulder to cry on should that become necessary. The finest silk or cashmere garment will not give you happiness, but when you are cold, a simple wool sweater will be a wonderful comfort. Gourmet meals won't give you the good feeling as something made according to your mother's old-fashioned "stick to your ribs" recipe. We all know what soul food means.
A rainy day can be dreary and depressing. But, if you choose, you may view it as a gift to the thirsty earth, its crops and people. A rainy day brings with it the promise of beautiful rainbows, many more sunny days with peaceful dawns and breathtaking sunsets. And, its a good time to take a nap. What a waste of life if one only seeks the negative!
Strive daily to be positive, no matter your situation. Be happy if you have a job. Be optimistic and hopeful if you are searching for employment. Show sincere compassion for those who are less fortunate than you, or those that are unhappy, even though they may possess a multitude of "stuff." Do not covet what others have.
Life is made up of much sadness and strife. But life is also made of a myriad of small things that give us contentment and peace. It is therefore in our best interest to diligently search for the things that can truly give us contentment as we face the unknowns of life.
Look not backward in remorse and self-pity. Cherish the moment and live today in gratitude and prayer that your needs, not your wants, will be supplied. Be filled with joy, anticipation and hope for the future. Be content!