Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Contentment is Not a Bad Word

Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and exhale. What are you missing in your life? I'm not asking what specific items you are missing, because we all have those moments of losing the keys, misplacing the cell phone, or forgetting to put socks on the two year old. No, I'm asking what you are missing from deep within the marrow of your being. Those deep caves that rarely see the light, because it's too hard to share those blemishes, those self-loathings, and those eternal moments of regret. It doesn't matter what specific circumstances created your interior struggles, it matters how you are going to get out of them. Some will always linger, and some are victory battle scars that we save to share with the world, but others need to be given up. Those internal struggles that eat at us day in and day out only to cut deeper into our self-esteem. It feels like there is no way out. But what if there was a way out? What if there is an underlying theme among many of us as we daily struggle through the complexities of life? An unspoken struggle of CONTENTMENT!

The word, contentment, has become a "bad word". It forces us to second-guess ourselves, our ambitions, and our achievements. In a face-paced world, where technology goes out of use before it was even introduced to the masses. Our lives are consumed with having the next best thing. What we have is never good enough. It's sad to acknowledge this is true. We have become a superficial society.

Contentment does not mean we are satisfied with having nothing. It does not mean that we don't have any dreams or long-term goals. Contentment gives us the ability to embrace our current phase in life. It won't be the same forever, but we need to joyfully accept the present. There was a time in history when both men and women happily accepted their lives, no matter their social class, the amount of labor, the hours of child-rearing, or their material achievements. There was a time when my widowed great-grandmother accepted her fate and worked tirelessly to support eight children as a seamstress. The loss of her husband's share of the family hardware store was heart-breaking and the family's lack of support for her working outside the home was discouraging. This woman didn't go beyond her scope in life, she didn't search to find a wealthy man and she didn't take easy street and move in with relatives. This strong, independent woman strove to create a better life and support her children, but she lovingly found contentment in it. She was happy and always believed she was blessed, because her life was beautiful in every respect. Life was not easy without a husband, especially in the early 20th century, but that didn't matter, because life was meant to be loved and lived. She found contentment in her family.

We must all search for our own contentment in life. It won't find us unless we choose to accept it. If we can find contentment, our lives will be much simpler, and yet much happier. That amazing great-grandmother of mine was right, life is meant to be loved and lived. We are social beings who desire to give and receive love. It's time that each of us takes this moment to examine our lives. Are we truly happy and if not, what would make us truly happy? If your answer revolves around material items that will only devalue with age, then it's time to do major sole searching...you have not found contentment yet. It won't be an easy task to suddenly appreciate every frustration and struggle in the name of contentment, but if you are seeking this beautiful state of life, you will find it. Contentment will never just appear. You will have to make many small steps, fill several large holes, but eventually with dedication, it can be found. The best time to start is now, so close your eyes, take that deep breathe and exhale.  Contentment is not a bad word, it's a beautiful and peaceful state of life.

Written By: Danielle Silva Heckenkamp

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