Friday, November 21, 2014

Contentment vs. Complacency

I used to pride myself on the fact that I was never content. I didn't use that word in my vocabulary and I was quick to defend my reasoning. I saw it as settling--as never wanting more. It is in my very nature to want more. I personally believe it in everyone's nature to want more, I think some people have suffocated their ambition with vices of all kinds, but that is another post for another day.

I always wanted more: to learn more and do more at work, therefore improving my resume, improve our financial situation, improve my body, improve my home, improve my marriage...improve, improve, improve.

Everyday I send my parents, Zach's parents, my aunts, and Zach's grandma a text with a picture of JaiseAnn. I usually include something fun that we've done that day, something new JaiseAnn is learning, etc. The other day I sent a picture of JaiseAnn and me and I wrote,

"I weigh more than I've ever weighed. I am poorer than I've ever been. I am more tired than I've ever been. I am happier than I've ever been."

I have been reflecting on that a lot lately and I've learned in the past ten months that it's entirely possible to seek improvement while finding happiness right where you are. It's just a simple matter of combining gratitude with  improvement.I wouldn't say I wasn't happy  before, but I was always chasing more happiness. I always felt that if I had clearer skin or weighed a little less I'd be more happy. If we were more secure financially and I didn't have to worry, I'd be more happy. If I were more successful at work, I would eventually not have to put up with so much drama and I'd be that much more happy. And so on.

Happiness is not quantified, though. We don't measure it out in and compare it to the happiness before. Instead, if we are grateful and stop, we realize that it just is. As a new mom, I had to kind of accept where I was in all aspects of my life and just be in the moment--otherwise I wasn't being the best mom I could be and there wasn't any reason for me to be home with JaiseAnn. I learned that I was still happy and the world did not end even though I can't shop or plan a vacation as freely as I used to be able to. Even though I can't schedule in classes and I am not working. Even though I can only do so much to improve my health---one day at a time. It's all just one day at a time. And the day doesn't care how you feel, look, or what mood you're in. Each day is ours to do with what we will. Will we spend it regretting our situation, enjoying our situation, or improving our situation?

Each day I wake up and I know that I my future as a stay at home mom is not solidified, my jeans still won't fit, and I am very tired. But I realize that that's not changing right this minute. I can't do anything to suddenly secure my financial future, make me loose forty pounds, or suddenly get JaiseAnn to sleep better. All I can do is take care of myself and enjoy myself today. I can play with JaiseAnn and work hard and do all the things that will improve my future all the while realizing that if this were it, if today were the last day, it was a good one. It was a fulfilling one. It was a worthwhile one.

And that's the beauty of contentment. I can proudly say that I'm content. I am very happy with a lot less in general. I am happy. My happiness comes from a place of gratitude and being in the moment, but I also feel my happiness is  found in the goals I still set for myself. I am able to feel happiness as I find joy in the present--just as it is, and look for a little more from myself and my situation in the days ahead. 

What are your thoughts on contentment? What do you feel happiness is ultimately about?

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