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Learn the Art of Contentment

Are you the kind of person that always looks to see what kind of expensive your neighbor's kid is playing? Or are you worried about what your  friends are making as far as their salary? Not happy in your marriage, friendships, or not being satisfied with what you have at the moment?

Some people are wondering, why despite the fact that I am just a stay-at-home mother and a not-so-full-time photographer, we are still able to manage to go through the day to day lives being happy and having no (or at times with quite a few) debts from other people.

It's just a matter of perspective actually.

You need to learn the art of contentment. Being content is not being driven by always wanting more. I know that ambition is a prized trait in our society. I am not saying that ambition is wrong. What I am saying is that the constant striving for more and not enjoying what you have or where you are at the moment will drive you crazy. Things do and will change. Have the attitude that they will change for the better. That can co-exist with being content. The attitude you have for the present will determine your stress level and even if you are in the right space or not to accomplish what you want for yourself.

I would like to give you couple ways to bring contentment into your life. As with anything, learning to master contentment takes practice. Work these techniques into your life and start to see the difference in your stress level.

Learn to Cultivate Gratitude

One of the big problems of media these days is that we get an incorrect view of reality. We get false expectations. Everyone has a new car, each family has a 4,000 square foot home. You don’t see reality. The world is imperfect. There blemishes on the most beautiful apple. There will always be something wrong with everything. When we are content we can separate reality from our expectations.

Keep a mental or even written list of the things you are grateful for in your life. When you hit a rough patch, review them and remind yourself why you are grateful for what is going on in your life. You can do these by topic. Make a list of what you are grateful in your job, in your spouse, etc.

Don’t focus on comparisons. What someone else has or what someone else makes. The problem is that people only compare themselves to those who have more or make more. No one ever compares themselves to people who have or make less. Therefore they make false comparisons. Just stay away from comparisons totally and you will find yourself much less stressed out.

Stake Your Life on What Satisfies Your Passion

Bring into your life what satisfies your passions. Nothing will bring happiness, stress-free living quicker than by doing things you enjoy. It may be art, a hobby, travel, a course on improving yourself in some way, even something as simple as listening to a foreign language tape on your daily commute. I know some of you are saying you don’t have time. There is always time to squeeze in something you like to do.

What you don’t want to do is fully stake your life on what you don’t like. What you focus on expands. Once again, view that situation as in the process of changing while you concentrate on those things that bring you joy.

Learn a Right View of Problems

There is an old saying, “What you focus on expands.” Have you noticed that when you buy a car, you start noticing people driving the same model? That is because you are hypersensitive and focused on that model. It is the same way with problems. If you focus on what is wrong in your life, what you don’t have that is what you will constantly see. You will see what you look for.

Now I am not telling you to ignore problems. Take them straight on and deal with them. Always think of them as temporary and changing and then, most important take action to change them. The difference between being content and not is understanding that the problem is a temporary situation. One of the main causes of suicide is seeing problems and situations as permanent and taking a permanent solution to them. All things change.

If you look for what is right in your life, you will end up seeing many things.

Contentment of the Spirit

Mark Twain said that the master passion of man was the contentment of the spirit. That is what we are really striving for, just to be content. Go ahead and practice these steps and see what they bring you.


Jenna MOMenvy said…
I am so sharing this :) I know many who need to read this! Great advice.
Rachee Fagg said…
I used to always be a green with envy person. Sometimes it still gets me. I do have to stop and count my blessings and be happy with where I am and what I am doing. Thank you for the reminder.
mystickitchen said…
Great post- and beautiful pictures! thanks for sharing!
What a SUPER advice I love the first point-Learn to Cultivate Gratitude !!!
So true, it's all about perspective. Our innate greed for bigger things make us forget that we have been blessed with so many little things. :)
Debi said…
What beautiful family pictures. While there are a few things that I am still working on, I am pretty happy just the way things are.
Lexie Lane said…
I do have to admit that sometimes I am guilty of what my neighbor has. These are lots of great advice. There are so many who have it so much worse and I feel like it makes really no sense for me to covet. Thank you for this enlightening post.
We have worked very hard to be content with what we have. It's a struggle, but worth it!
Jessica Harlow said…
This is a really great post on what important in life! :) Everyone has different priorities, but I'm super happy to be a SAHM with my kiddos. We might not have every last minute tech device or piles of money in the bank, but I love (almost) every minute spent with my kiddos! Thanks for sharing. P.S. Really nice family photos!
Kisa said…
Thank you so much for this post, it's a big push back into reality and not focusing so much on all the negatives.
I also want to say, I absolutely love you ALL rocking pink in the pictures! Just awesome!
When my husband and I decided to sell our beautiful home and live in an RV so he could change careers in another city away from our family and friends, I felt lost. I wanted to support him but I truly felt lost. As I spent time in prayer and work I realized that I could be happy with my choice to support my husband. Content. That is when I stopped grieving for my house and started making a new home.
KLPMiller said…
Very true. Life isnt just about things, although our perspective is skewed with tv, movies, and keeping up with the neighbors. It seems to me that the happiest people really don't buy into all that, and do all the things you wrote about in this post.
What a beautiful up lifting post! I love how you worded it! I wish more people would feel this way and the world would be a better place!
Excellent post! I think a lot of people struggle with this concept. I used to find it hard to be content but now I am happy! We have been blessed with two gorgeous boys (and our struggle for a second really taught us how blessed we are!). Thanks for sharing
Jayne Townsley said…
One of the things I am constantly checking is my being content yet not becoming complacent about my life.

My favorite part of your article came under the "Learn a Right View of Problems" heading. I've noticed the car thing because it's true but I've never thought about WHY it's true.

Focus is key. Just be careful what you're focused ON. :)
Rachel Ralston said…
Great advice. I will be bookmarking this page. Thank you for sharing!
Curtis Giroux said…
This is a good life lesson; right now I'm very content with how everything is going but I can't help but work harder to make it better.
The art of contentment is even harder to master, I think, with social media. We can look over so many other people's virtual shoulders at the pretty parts of their lives and feel we are lacking. This is a brilliant post and you have a beautiful family!
love your family photos adorable how everyone is in pink. great post i try to live my live my life in a realm of contentment & positivity as well. It helps to surround yourself with others who think the same.
jessica hehir said…
This is a beautiful sentiment to start the year in the right direction. Gratitude and perspective are so important to raising happy children and living a fulfilled life. Thanks for a great post.
Jennifer Brown said…
Nice ideas and thoughts and good lessons. I'm currently reading A Course in Miracles, this fits right in.
Great blog!!! Love the info about cultivate gratitude.. it's good to accept the reality and work on improving that.
Thanks for sharing
Thank you for reminding us to be thankful for what we have and our blessings. Sometimes we forget we have just what we need when we need it! Great article.
Eileen said…
I totally agree. Loving what you have is the key to being content. Sometimes we desire things we do not really need. As long as we have what is essential in life, we'd be fine. Invest in eternal life, not on earthly possesions.
Anonymous said…
Count you blessings and you would learn the art of contentment. This aspect of life is very important to live in peace, when life is bringing reason after reason for unrest. blessed are those who learned the art of contentment at an early stage and live a better life.
Anonymous said…
Count your blessings to learn art of contentment. Blessed are those who understand meaning and purpose of contentment, the peace in life and purpose of life than just fighting to live and just live. Contentment brings in purpose and reasons of our being in with world and we can concentrate on our self than running around till we are gone with no achievement.
Anonymous said…
Count your blessings to learn art of contentment. Blessed are those who understand meaning and purpose of contentment, the peace in life and purpose of life than just fighting to live and just live. Contentment brings in purpose and reasons of our being in with world and we can concentrate on our self than running around till we are gone with no achievement.
Cara Kueck said…
These are great tips for life! I know I need to remember some of these! Thanks for sharing!
Anonymous said…
Count your blessings to learn art of contentment. Blessed are those who understand meaning and purpose of contentment, the peace in life and purpose of life than just fighting to live and just live. Contentment brings in purpose and reasons of our being in with world and we can concentrate on our self than running around till we are gone with no achievement.
eof777 said…
A grateful spirit and a content heart are important parts of being happy. You are right that we live in a world where more is seen as better but in the end, we find out that there are other things that make us happy and contentment with what we already cherish is one.

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