“After a while, you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul. And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises. You begin to accept your defeats.
With your head up and your eyes open. With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child. And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow is too uncertain for plans. And futures have a way of falling down in midflight. And after a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure . . . that you really are strong. That you really do have worth . . . and you learn . . . and you learn . . .”
Again, I am reminded of how lessons continue to repeat themselves until we are ready to learn, until we are willing to learn in some cases. The particular quote above was one that was given to me by a friend over ten years ago. At the time, I understood it superficially, but I can honestly say, I didn’t want to accept what it had to say at its core. As I was going through some old folders a couple of weeks ago, I happened upon it again, and this time I was ready for the lesson.
Whether taught in your familial culture, social culture, religious culture or any other type of culture you grew up in, many of us, including myself, grew up with the notion, the belief, that we weren’t enough.
Please don’t misunderstand, I have amazing, supportive parents, but the social culture I grew up in reinforced that idea I needed something or someone else to attain completion – that happiness was somewhere out in the future, and I would have to chase it down or let someone bring it to me.
Thankfully, what I have learned is that neither are correct.
Here is the lesson I learned: Contentment, not happiness, is what should be the goal. Contentment, therefore, is the responsibility of each person to cultivate for themselves. No one can give us true contentment. No one can hand it to us on a platter, and voilà, contentment commences to be felt for all eternity. No contract, professionally or personally, establishes an infinite amount of contentment in our lives.
Contentment comes into fruition when each one of us does the work for ourselves. When we take the time to investigate, to be the detectives of who we uniquely are, when we take the time to listen, really listen to what our internal voice is telling us, and when we don’t take the easy road out, numbing ourselves with addictions or other bad behaviors, but instead, get down, lean forward and take on the challenge of discovering what makes our souls sing.
It is after finding contentment that you can fully, completely and healthily be in a relationship void of co-dependency. It is after finding contentment that you can truly live in the moment, knowing your boundaries, having the discipline to say no when for you it is necessary and having the acceptance of realizing that nothing everything lasts forever. After all, once we’ve learned the lesson, the teacher lets go, so that we can move closer to our best life all on our own.
So today, take a moment to look within and ask yourself if you are expecting something else or someone else to make you happy. And the best thing you can do is to be honest when you respond because that will be the first step toward finding your very own, hard fought for and much deserved, contentment.
16 thoughts on “True Contentment”
I honestly cannot begin to tell you how many times i’ve read this particular post just so i can digest every word of it. I have to come back and read it again because it resonates with me really well. And it sits so well with my belief of creating a life of joy and contentment without feeling the need of someone extra. I feel like those are just bonuses to add to a well balanced life. Another fab post from you
I’ve missed so much due to exams so i have to come back later and do a catch up read
A lovely post and beautiful blog! Am now following 🙂 xx
ohhhh contentment – what a crazy thing – i went to buy my sectional this weekend to find it was 3X’s as much as i thought – was bummed – then today my Mom is having her breat cancer removed – brought me RIGHT back to reality – and how “contentment” is all i need – not over the top!!!
Such an amazing quote! And very good advice on another layer of finding the real you. Thanks for such a great post!
First time I saw your blog today. Very true, happiness is fleeting , and life is very uncertain.Looking towards other people to make us happy is one of all our biggest weaknesses. You included many helpful suggestions, just forgot to include looking UP, to God..and not so much at ourselves.take care, Gina
Thank you. Finally somebody who speaks about Contentment. When I try to speak about what I think is one of the most important things in our life, it seems that there is just the wind that understands me + a few among many 🙁
lovely quote and post! just lovely 🙂 hugs,Maria
I am a big fan of ‘contentment’ too. It simply works.
I completely agree! And that quote is one I’ve read over and over since I was a teenager. So beautiful.
For one I think that being happy is a choice people make. There are a lot of things that can bring you down and you need to choose to look at the positive rather than the negative.
Second, I think being content has gotten a bad rap. I’ve found that you can be really, blissfully happy for moments–and you should embrace them–but overall contement is what will carry you through.
“Contentment comes into fruition when each one of us does the work for ourselves.” I think we so often forget that we ourselves are in control of our destiny and it takes work to get there….love this post. Thanks so much for the inspiration.
I think the quote is actually a poem written by Ben Okri a veryvery talented Nigerian poet and novelist.
Thanks for reminding me of it!!
Thank you for sharing this! Gives a person so much peace to work on finding the real you!
Fantastic. Your words wrap a layered topic with great clarity. Thank you for the insightful boost in the ongoing project of ~~ living with intention! Very helpful and appreciated ??
Liz, Thank you for your words. ?
I’ve been on a journey of contentment and living with less, cherishing experiences. I just loved the quote. Thanks for starting this up again.
So happy to bring back the weekly newsletter. Thank you for remaining a subscriber after all these years. I am so happy to hear you are enjoying your life of more contentment. Thank you for your comment. 🙂