I really do enjoy listening to radio programs whilst on the move. It’s amazing how much I learn from some of them, plus it also keeps me well informed. I already have my favourite programs, sometimes though I just stick to music.
One of the recent ones I listened to got me thinking about happiness and how everyone wants to be happy. Even a baby will cry for a toy, or milk or to be carried because whatever the need is at the time, makes them happy.
The topic was about a particular day, typically the third Monday in January. This day, called ‘Blue Monday is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year
Off point 🤭
How come the calm
So back to the topic, a lady called into the show and spoke about how she has decided she will rather strive for contentment rather than happiness. She explained that when you’re content, happiness is not far behind. However, irrespective of whether you’re happy or not you’re in a good state of mind. I like her theory, but its good to understand what each of them means.
Happiness is the act of being happy, and to be happy is to be glad or delighted. Interestingly, some definition of happiness includes contentment, and some definition of contentment also state that ‘it is to be happy’. I, however, do not think they’re the same.
Contentment according to the Mariam Webster dictionary is a feeling of satisfaction with situation, status or possessions.
I think that while happiness is often times temporary, contentment is a longer lasting feeling of satisfaction which in my opinion is a better state of mind than ‘periodical happy highs’. I believe that pursuing happiness can easily lead to disappointments and possibly depression. A habit of being content gives balance, therefore unhappiness/sadness won’t be too erosive to the state of mind.
Happiness fluctuates, it comes and goes. Unfortunately, sometimes when it goes, it takes a lot with it thereby leaving the individual in a terrible state. I read somewhere that a lot of supposed happy people end up becoming depressed which in few cases have led to suicide. If you do a search you’ll find that a lot of the popular comedians go through depression. I think this happens because happiness is like a temporary high – when the moment passes you feel deflated until something else makes you happy again.
Does it mean happiness is a bad thing? Absolutely not, it’s wonderful to be happy, it’s a great feeling I just feel there is a more sustainable good feeling from learning to be content, that way we are not demoralised when we don’t get expected results.
Contentment should not be seen as laziness or lack of hunger for growth! It just means that in the pursuit for a better life, failure or setbacks does not mean a knock-down. You can still try again or try something else without feeling that the whole universe is against you.
It is the state of mind where other people’s success is not seen as a threat but you keep working towards your own goals while appreciating or learning from other people’s achievements.
I like this quote by Bilal Zahoor ‘happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they have’. Contentment is appreciating what you have, or even just your existence. It is not comparing yourself to others, knowing that there will be great days and not so great days but you’ll be fine.
According to an anonymous quote, contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want but the
Signs of contentment.
You know you are content when you:
- Accept and appreciate yourself.
- Understand and accept the notion of time and season.
- are not jealous or envious of the success and achievements of others.
Striving to be happy 100% of the time as far as I’m concerned is an unachievable task. This is because life by it’s nature is full of ups and downs. There will be good days as well as bad days. A better coping mechanism is therefore contentment. The state of mind of knowing that whatever life brings your way you’ll be fine – it’s not the end of the world.
Contentment should be the base-line of our existence whereby if happiness comes fantastic, but if it’s the other way round we are able to cope and deal with it.
I’ll leave you with Apostle Paul’s words in his letter to the Philippians:
Phip 4 11-12
‘Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.
Image from savingjoyfully.com quotehd.com quotediary.me