Someone recently gave me a beautiful image of contentment when they told me, “I love my life. It’s the life I always dreamed of having.”
I know their story. The level of abuse and trauma and poverty and neglect they were raised in — chaos –is unimaginable for most of us. Discontent could be justified if they wanted to claim it. They don’t.
They have the normal struggles of life: Money, Moods, Sex, Work, Kids, Partner, Extended Family Drama. Yet, they have learned to be content.
Accepting it. Changing what they can change. Letting the rest be as it is. The practice of contentment.
Contentment isn’t living a fairy tale. Contentment is living in reality.
Being content is not easy. Anything worth learning takes practice, practice, and still more practice. Contentment is learned.
Most of us have someone in our life that we know well, “I know exactly what they’ll say! They’re so predictable!”
Now, look in the mirror. We are all fairly predictable. We have patterns. Some are helpful. Some are unhelpful.
Recognize the signs of an emotional reaction. What are you thinking? How do you feel? Do you feel it physically? Pay attention. Learn what’s happening.
When we start recognizing how we think or feel, we often twist ourselves up with self-loathing, “I shouldn’t feel this way! What’s wrong with me?” Judging yourself is another emotional reaction that complicates the first one.
You’re human. Emotional reactions are human. You’re normal. Accept it as a first step to learning how to respond.
Even though emotional reactions can lead to impulsive behavior and being out-of-control, mature adult emotional reactions are possible.
Not only is it possible, it’s really helpful for all of areas of life.