What does 'being content' mean?

What does 'being content' mean?

What is your definition of content? Most of my clients come to see me because they are looking for some level of contentment. However I have found there is a sense of fear that if they are content they won’t be successful.  Ironically we all want to be ‘content’ but there is a misnomer that if we are content we stop seeking, stop striving for the next thing.  I would argue that being content doesn’t mean we morph into couch potatoes that have no drive or ambition.  In fact I would argue that when we strive for contentment our lives become more rich and full.  When we are living from a place of contentment we engage in activities that give us joy and meaning, rather then just the activities we were told we should be doing.
I admit I was guilty of this too.  In the about me section of my website I describe my own struggle with finding contentment. My lament use to be “I have a great life, a good job, a supportive family–I SHOULD be happy”.  I wasn’t though, I was a walking charade, convincing myself daily that I was happy because I had everything I should want, from the outside all looked right.  I had just bought a house, had a job that I enjoyed, I had an active social life and felt loved and supported by those around me.  I knew the issue was with me, it was my own drive/ambition desire to get off the treadmill and focus on what was important to me.  Not what SHOULD be making me happy.

Frequently many of us live for the I’ll be happy when moments…i’ll be happy when I get everything checked off my list, or when I get married, have a baby, get a new job and the list goes on and on.  When I ask clients the question of why their to do list is so important or achieving the next thing is going to make them happy many of them are dumb struck.  They haven’t really ever thought about why the are on the treadmill or what it is they value or want out of life.  Someone somewhere told us we SHOULD want these things and we swallowed it, internalized it and jumped on the treadmill without much thought.

To me contentment means:

  • We take time to notice where we are, we enjoy the wow moments and we are present to our lives.
  • We pay attention to what we value and we shape our lives around those values.
  • We don’t live our lives from an external place of should but rather we get quiet and listen to our own inner voice and figure out what matters to us.
  • We start implementing the activities/people that feed our soul, give us energy and make us content.
  • We recognize contentment isn’t a destination but a life long process of spiraling up.  Continually checking in with ourselves and recognizing when we have started to get pulled back on the treadmill of life.

But I want to hear from you–what are your thoughts on contentment? Is it possible to be content AND achieve success in life?  Do you struggle with being content? What does being content mean to you?