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The Pursuit of Contentment




I look at this photo of my nephew and I see the embodiment of contentment. All he’s ever known is love and attentive care. Every need has been met with tender swiftness. He trusts that will always be the case and I hope it will. But I also hope that even if (more likely when) he does encounter hardship, he can still find his way back to this level of contentment again.


We’re told the pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right. But I feel the pursuit of contentment is much more attainable. Happiness is an emotion. And like all emotions, it comes and it goes. I’m not saying it’s not possible to be joyful much of the time. But being in constant pursuit of it is an exhausting chase. And feeling badly about our lives if we’re not always feeling happy only makes us more miserable. Especially if we feel forced to fake it for the comfort of others.


Contentment, on the other hand, indicates a sense of satisfaction and acceptance with the general flow of life. That acceptance leaves room for all emotions to come visit us. That makes it easier to envision because really what we’re pursuing is having our needs met and trusting that the needs that aren’t currently met can be.


What would it take to feel satisfied with life? For me, I find contentment with my healthy relationships. I find it with a life path that supports me as well as ignites my heart and brain. I find it with my healthy physical, emotional, and mental states. I find it with an organized and tidy living space.


At the same time as I feel content with my life, it doesn’t equate to me being content with the state of the world. There are wars and other injustices on every continent. There is our planet being polluted. There is suffering of all kinds. And that weighs heavy on me. I imagine it weighs heavily on most of us.


I’m content with the fact that all I can do is the best I can to ease the suffering I see and I trust my loved ones do the same. And together we make ripples around us that can lead to contentment for all.


So here’s to your contentment! May you find it and it fill you with the peace you deserve and may you sleep as peacefully as this sweet little baby.

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