Wouldn’t you be happy if you were given one million dollars? Think about all those things that you can buy…a new car, a new house. Perhaps even hire cleaning maids to do your chores.
Do you find yourself comparing yourself to others a lot? Are you naturally living your own life or artificially living someone else’s?
Why do you think other people have it better than you do? Why do you think other people are perfect?
Why are you trying to give up your uniqueness?
Leo Babauta, the creator of Zen Habits, said that “contentment is a super power.” If you can learn the skills of contentment, your life will be be better in many ways.
You’ll enjoy life more.
Your relationships will be stronger.
You’ll be better at meeting people.
You’ll be healthier, and good at forming healthy habits.
You’ll like and trust yourself more.
You’ll be jealous less.
You’ll be less angry and more at peace.
You’ll be happier no matter what you’re doing or who you’re with.
As with anything, learning the skills of contentment will take time, effort, and practice.
Here they are:
1. Awareness. Notice when you’re making comparisons when you have ideals, fantasies, and expectations, when they are making you less content and causing pain.
2. Acceptance. Don’t beat yourself up about it, and accept that this process is happening. It’s part of life. Accept it, and face it, and find the appropriate non-emotional response.
3. Letting go of comparisons. When you notice the comparisons, accept that you’ve made them, but realize that they are hurting you, and that they are completely unnecessary. You can let go of them, and be perfectly fine.
4. Compassion. Compassion for yourself – this is how you let go of the ideals and comparisons. They are hurting you, making you less happy, and so it’s a compassionate act to let go of them. Let them be.
5. Appreciation. Instead of comparing and holding onto ideals, focus instead on appreciating what you have, who you’re with, what you’re doing, and who you are. Find the good in each thing, including yourself.
6. Loving yourself, and everything else too. Once you’ve found the good to appreciate in yourself or anything/anybody around you, learn to love it. This is the beauty of life, and it is incredible.
(adapted from the “Little Book of Contentment“)
I am currently learning myself and am, by no means, an expert. Life is a work in progress, so let us learn to be content and not always get caught up with expectations and distractions that take away from our happiness.