Nearly a month into our major life change, I am finding contentment and leaning into embracing the present moment. Doing so is a struggle for me; my first instinct is to control, to plan, and then to lament when nothing goes according to plan. Do you ever find yourself doing the same?
Over the past year, I’ve really given some thought to the difference between happiness and contentment and realized that I actually prefer and desire the latter. In my mind, happiness is often a singular moment of unadulterated joy. Like eating a rich piece of cake, it feels wonderful in the moment. But eventually the fork will scrape the plate, and the happiness will give way. It is not sustainable long-term.
Contentment, on the other hand, is the ability to accept both the pleasurable and disappointing moments in life as necessary to a richly textured life. Just like you wouldn’t choose to eat cake every day, we must experience the other emotions in life to appreciate joy. Contentment creates gratitude for the trials of the past and a desire to embrace the uncertainty of the future. Contentment is subtle, abiding the greater moments as part of the richer orchestrated symphony of life.
Do you view your life as brief moments of happiness sandwiched between unpleasant events? Focusing on contentment is a sustainable exercise in gratitude that results in a deeper joy and satisfaction in life.
Some days I struggle for momentary happiness, grasping for it like a child trying to catch fireflies. I wonder at “why” things have happened a certain way rather than embracing the new direction. But then I am often reminded that I have much to be grateful for and to enjoy in this present moment. Our lives are too short to live otherwise.
How will you choose to live in this moment?