Posted by: darien7743 | July 13, 2016

Contentment vs. Happy ?

When my brother was younger I used to ask him if he was happy, so much, that he grew to dislike the question. He would talk about something he was considering and I would ask, “But, are you happy?” with this or that.  It irritated him and often he would respond saying “What’s happy got to do with it?” When he became engaged he called and told me, “Now, I’m Happy.” Eleven years later, divorced. No one was happy.

But, he was right. It seems that Happy doesn’t have a great deal to do with what we’re doing. It has to do with what you believe about the situation.  Different for each person, Happy is precocious, changes in a moment, disillusions us and surprises us at the same time. It can be very confusing. What makes you Happy today can make you miserable tomorrow.

I read an article a few weeks back where someone pointed out that when we think of Happy, quite often we mean Contentment. He was right. I recognized that my blog’s name might be viewed as misleading……………So be it. I don’t think I am alone out there. Lots of us think of Contentment as Happy. We also think that Contentment is passive and uninteresting. Kind of dull, like the Carnation cow we grew up seeing on television.  Happy is fun and exciting, pleasurable, peaceful, the final goal, or so we’d like to believe. Perhaps we need to rethink that.

Contentment occurs when things are in balance and we feel comfortable with life. When we are content, we can handle a few ups and downs without being thrown off base. We don’t expect Contentment to be perfect peace. But, it is always comfortable, within tolerance of our emotions and expectations.

Comfortable is also conditional. But it’s conditions are more within our reach. You may be happy that you found a good book. But are you comfortable taking the time to read it? As I see it, Happy is the getting, Contentment is the experience that results when something is worthwhile…….

Nothing in life is ever stagnant. We’d like it to be…….then we could have a bit of control. We’d like to believe that there is an end in sight and when we reach it all will be well. That can happen, and often does for everyone. We feel it, the Happy, then it’s gone, replaced by the next desire we choose to run after. Yes, we choose it. We know we do. Everyday we make numerous choices based on what we think will make us Happy in the moment or in the end.

Sometimes we don’t feel they are choices at all. We feel they are conditions that have to be faced, work that has to be done, people we need to please, things we need to have. But do we? What if what we had or did was enough. What if we didn’t need to be or do more to be okay with our life? What if our life contained a little more Contentment? What would it look like?

What if we enjoyed a book or a good conversation more than watching TV? What if we didn’t need a Lexus in our garage? What if we wanted a restored 1974 Volkswagen Beetle instead, so we drove one? What if we set aside one evening a week for the family? Would we get to know our family again? Would we share a meal? Would we plan a time all for us? Could we eliminate technology and focus on humanity for just one night, or would it end up in a frustrating sense of loss and total silence? What then? What might our life look like if we did these things? What might we feel? Can we see another choice, another path toward enriching our experience of life?

Could it be that if we changed our belief about certain things being necessary for happiness, we might find more of the conditions we equate with being Happy showing up?

Wouldn’t it be fun if we could all do just one thing that made a difference, for us? Perhaps we could find a tad more Contentment in daily life. Wouldn’t that be something to look forward to?……………..AHHHHHHHHHHH.




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