One of the best realizations I’ve ever made is owning my contentment. I’m content and it’s a peaceful awareness. I savor it. Trying to capture contentment yourself? Maybe a few of my practices learned over time can help.
1- Slow down – Just stop. Take a deep breath. Give that anxiousness that can build up a chance to dissipate. Do it again and again till it sticks. Yeah, it feels weird for a while.
2- Make deliberate choices – When you know why you make decisions, there are fewer regrets to fuel discontent. It’s not about making perfect choices to get straight A’s on the report card of life. It’s about understanding yourself better.
3- Shed perfectionism – Strive for personal excellence, not perfectionism. You can be mellow on one topic and perfectionistic on another, so pay close attention. You might catch remnants you didn’t think much about before. Clean out that contaminated thinking.
4- Let sadness move through you – Fight the urge to pretend it’s not there when it takes you. Just be with it. It gives you sometbing authentic to measure moments of joy against helping keep life balanced and in perspective.
5- Quit performing for people – You don’t have to entertain people for the right ones to want to be around you. When you externalize your value that way, you invite emptiness and discontentment to set in.
6- Shun comparisons – Don’t waste your life comparing it to everyone else. It’s shallow and useless. There are so many major and minor factors that put people where they are – some within their control and some entirely out of their control.
Don’t 100% buy in to the idea we are each in control of everything that happens in our lives. There’s plenty we do control, but much we don’t. Just ask a woman who did everything ‘right’ having a baby and faced something unforeseen. That was a huge wake up call for me personally and little talked about in my sphere. My body just ran with pregnancy. I had less control than I assumed I would going in as I enthusiastically followed the pregnancy ‘rulebook’. It was its own deal, so how could I compare it to anyone else?
7- Do what you love to do – Even if it’s not your regular job, make time for something you love to do in your free time. It will fuel you and give you something to think about that feeds your soul. Who knows? With time, maybe that will become your career if it didn’t start out that way. Life has a funny way of working out differently than we planned .
8- Get fresh air – Walk, ride a bike, go outside and say hi to a neighbor, make weekend trekking to various farmers markets your thing maybe (sharing one of my things;) ). Just go and do something where you can hear a few birds, feel a little vitamin D pick me up from the sun on your shoulders, hear a breeze move through the leaves of a tree, and be around some life forms that aren’t just you. I’m not talking crowds. I’m talking about finding just a smidge of vibrancy to appreciate.
9- Make a list of you – Make a list of everything you have accomplished and give yourself permission to feel amazed by yourself once in a while. It doesn’t have to be grand resume ready accomplishments. It could be something as simple as… You know what? I take great care of my garden and it’s a really cool space. A periodic self-assessment check in is good for the soul. It reminds us we are actually getting somewhere.
10- Work on your self-soothing skills – You are awesome just because you are here. You are right where you are supposed to be. You have extraordinary things to offer and you have impacted people’s lives in wonderful ways. You are loved and cared about and appreciated for your unique gifts. You matter and your heart is precious.
Ok – now go say this last one to yourself in the mirror until you really believe it at the core of your being, because you really are awesome.