One dictionary defines contentment as “a state of happiness and satisfaction.” It is not often in today’s world that we experience true contentment. In fact, our consumerist culture is driven by our continual state of discontent.
Early in my marriage, I was consumed with discontentment. Whether it was the car I drove or the latest tech gadget, I was always convinced that something bigger and better was out there. I masterfully justified all the reasons I needed to buy something. Like the many ways that new iDevice was going to improve my productivity (boy, was I wrong about that).
I obsessed about it until I found a way to obtain it, but I was never satisfied. It was a vicious cycle.
While I can’t say that I’m now perfectly content every day of my life, I have made significant improvements over where I used to be.
So today, I’m sharing the #1 way that I battle discontentment in my life:
No, it isn’t glamorous or flashy. But this seemingly simple concept can make such a difference when applied across our lives.
Anytime I hear the whispers of discontentment creeping into my mind, the first thing I do is ask myself how I can take better care of what I already have.
“The grass is greener where you water it.” -Neil Barringham
So often, we grow discontent when we don’t take care of the things we own.
It’s easy to lust over a shiny, new car if I treat the one I’ve got like a rolling garbage can. If my computer is running slowly because I’ve failed to update it and it’s overrun with junk files, that speedy new model looks all the more tempting.
Another illustration is when we put our house on the market earlier this year. We scrambled to deep clean inside and out, painted a few rooms and completed some landscaping projects we had been putting off. Not that our home was in shambles before, but what a difference those few maintenance tasks made! Why did we wait until we thought we’d be leaving to take care of them? We could have enjoyed the benefits all along!
When we put the time and effort into maintenance, we are less likely to be swayed by the pull of discontentment.
This principle isn’t limited to our material possessions, either.
- If you are unhappy in your marriage, ask yourself how you can better maintain your relationship with your spouse.
- If you are feeling lonely, how can you nurture the friendships you’ve already got? Maybe you need to set aside some intentional time to get together and reconnect.
- If you’re dissatisfied with your job, are there skills you can improve upon that will lead to a better position?
- If you are not content with the way that you look or feel, in what ways can you spend more time on self-maintenance? This might mean making sleep a higher priority, making changes to your diet or beginning a new exercise routine.
There are countless different areas where we can eliminate — or at least drastically reduce — discontentment in our lives by applying the maintenance mindset. What ways can you think of? Share in the comments!