Are you content with life?
One day I was feeling quite low. I woke up in a state of sadness and was unable identify the reasons behind it. Partly due to the lack of diagnosis, I continued to stay in that state for the remainder of the day.
That night, I already had something planned from before. Normally, I would have canceled the plans because of the state I was in but I realized how self-handicapping that is. I was already feeling empty and staying home by myself would just make it worse. So regardless of the effort it took to convince myself that I needed to do this, I said yes to going out with friends. And I’m glad I did. Suddenly, my entire mood altered. Social interaction was enough to brighten up my mood. I enjoyed the company of my friends and the jokes and laughter made up for the entire day of sadness and loneliness.
I was happy.
But that was temporary. After the late night hangout session with friends, I came back home and immediately fell asleep with a smile on my face. But then I woke up the next morning and that feeling of utmost sadness emerged once again. It was painful.
Why, after an incredible night, was I back to feeling glum? Why did I feel like life is depressing? That I’m longing for something that I cannot find or identify? That I’m continuously disappointed?
Happiness is temporary. You can be happy and still not be content with life. Happiness comes and goes. It’s fleeting and it can fade. It is a feeling, and feelings change.
What I strive for is being content. Contentment is a state of being. You can be sad, making you not happy. But you can be sad and still be content, knowing it is temporary. It’s a state of being satisfied with what you have regardless of changing feelings or emotions.
When I was alone at home, I was upset but when I was with my friends, I was happy. Each were momentary feelings that altered depending on the environment I was in or what had happened that day. I was happy, for a brief period of time, but I was not content.
People often pursue happiness and while that is a great goal to want to achieve, it is, ultimately, a set up for disappointment. Happiness is a high, one that gets you feeling like you’re on top of the world; however, it eventually has a downfall and if you cannot handle the balance, it is painful and harmful. Don’t you want to be satisfied with what you have, therefore not longing anything more? Not feeling like you’re missing something? You can’t always be happy. Happiness comes when there isn’t sadness, it is one or the other, but contentment comes when you accept both. Therefore, aiming for only happiness then losing it and aiming for it again causes disappointment. But you can always be content.
Contentment is a great middle ground. It allows you to be both happy and sad all-the-while feeling OKAY with both! For example, your marriage can have some ups and downs but you can still be content with life. Or, you can have a death in the family which will cause you to feel unhappy and pessimistic for some time, but still be content.
It’s all about perspective. And accepting that this is all temporary. That feelings change. Events happen. But knowing that it will be okay without longing for a continuous feeling of happiness, when happiness is only temporary! Happiness is great but the contentment with a balance is better.
When people get asked the question: what’s your goal in life? More often than not, people answer that they aim to be happy. My answer? I hope to learn to be content. I hope that no matter my situation, I am satisfied with what I have. That regardless of the pitfalls and hardships, I understand that it’s temporary and things will be okay. That, I’ll never give up. Because, unlike happiness, you don’t pursue contentment, you either are or you aren’t.
I hope to be content no matter the situation. That is my goal in life.
Read my previous post: A positive spin on self-fulfilling prophecies