By Todd Craig, Journey Bravely
The journey from November to January can leave us feeling emotional whiplash from mixed messages of one celebration to the next. November is spent reflecting on gratitude. In December, we receive messaging that life is better if we give or receive the perfect gift. After opening gifts and receiving the “thing we’ve always wanted,” our attention turns to the new year and ways to make it different or better than last year.
This year, I am taking a different approach. I have spent much of my adult life striving for more and believing satisfaction and joy were right around the corner blinded to the reasons for joy I already have. This year I am choosing to live from a place of “enough.” I am beginning each day believing, “I am enough. I have enough. There is nothing to prove, there is only to enjoy.”
7 Practices for Growing Contentment & Enjoying Your Present Life
The problem with “good enough”
The words we use with others and ourselves matter. When someone says, “Oh, that is good enough,” it can sound like settling or resignation. Being content is not the same as settling. There is a difference between saying life is “good enough” and saying, “life is good, and it is enough.” I will pay attention to the words I say to myself and others and the affect they have on my view of life.
The importance of gratitude
We often spend energy striving to attain something we already have. Satisfaction, inner peace, joy, and contentment don’t require us attaining anything other than gratitude for what we already have. I will actively develop the discipline of gratitude.
Comparison is a thief
Comparison causes us to focus on what we don’t have at the expense of enjoying what we already have and creates a race without a finish line. Comparison only robs us of joy and positive energy in our present life. I will live my own life and not judge it in comparison to others.
Quiet the noise
We are bombarded with messaging from Hollywood, Wallstreet, and social media that we aren’t enough and don’t have enough. Social media originates from neighbors and “regular” people making it difficult to discern projection from reality. I will turn off or unfollow messaging that makes me feel inadequate or bad about myself or my life so I can live the life I want, not the life others say I should want.
What if you have nothing to prove?
Our culture invites us into competitions we can’t win. Immediately after championship games, talking heads begin comparing this year’s championship team to those of the past. But, the powerful truth is we get to decide whether we will compete by culture’s rules or whether we will decide we have nothing to prove. In sports, when there is nothing to prove, we get to enjoy the game. In business, when there is nothing to prove, we get to enjoy creating and serving others. And, when there is nothing to prove in life, we get to enjoy every day and breath as a gift. When there is nothing to prove, there is only to enjoy. I will develop the discipline of celebrating and enjoying every step on the journey rather than waiting for my arrival at some arbitrary destination.
Everyone is limited
Life is often spent trying to live beyond limitations. We begin repetitiously saying or thinking, “I don’t have enough time,” or “I don’t have enough energy.” Eventually this becomes “I am not enough.” In truth, we are all limited beings. This is not a flaw; it is part of being human. Acknowledging our limits may be what frees us to a better life and a better version of ourselves. I will joyfully live within my limitations rather than resigning in defeat because of them.
Begin from a place of abundance
Living from a place of enough isn’t the same as settling. Contentment and growth aren’t mutually exclusive. As we look for opportunities to grow, the question becomes: Is our journey beginning from a place of scarcity and discontentment or a place of abundance? Discontentment can be a short-term fast-burn fuel for growth, but it may soon lead to disappointment. Contentment and believing you are and have enough is a long burn fuel for growth that won’t run out. I will continue to grow and improve, not because I must but because I can.
As you pursue more contentment in life, connect with us for support along your journey at Journeybravely.com.