Learning How To Be Content
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
As you all know, I’ve been working on simplifying my life to reduce my stress levels and have been chronicling my journey in this Living Simply series on the blog. This week I want to talk about being content with what I have and who I am instead of adopting an “always more” mindset.
I’ve never been the type of person to compare myself to others, but that being said - I do put myself down a lot and most of my stress comes from new experiences, the unknown and disappointing or letting myself down. I hold myself to a very high standard in terms of what I expect myself to accomplish. Whether that be in my workplace, in my own personal projects, or even my “just-for-fun” hobbies. This means that when I don’t succeed to the arbitrary standard that I’ve set myself - I get really stressed and become quite the Negative Nelly.
I’ve come to the realization that it really doesn’t matter if I don’t reach the standard I set myself. A goal is a goal for a reason: it’s something to work towards. It’s not something that you need to achieve on your first try.
Lately I've been trying to remind myself of that fact and to laugh and enjoy my “failures”. Because they really aren’t failures at all. I’m trying to learn to be content with who I am and where I’m at in the now. For example I tried making soup from scratch for the first time and I destroyed it with the seasoning. I wasn’t properly following a recipe and I over-seasoned it. In the past this would’ve really upset me and I’d harp on my “fail” and make self-deprecating jokes about it for months to come.
Instead, this time, I ate it - and I hated it. So, I let go of my mistake (quite literally by pouring it down the drain), but also by accepting that my soup didn’t turn out right this time and maybe next time it will. And if it doesn’t work out next time too, that’s okay. Maybe I’ll try a different recipe, follow a recipe more thoroughly or just have one of my friends teach me how to make soup.
I can be content in the fact that I’m not the best cook and that I have a lot to learn in the soup-making culinary arts.
The same idea of being content can be considered when thinking about objects, clothes, makeup, etc. Always having more isn’t going to drastically change my life. Whenever I feel like I “don’t have enough” of something - let’s say t-shirts. I try to pull out everything I own in that category and put it into perspective. If I pile it up on my bed, I can see that I have plenty enough.
Then when I put it back in my drawer, I make a conscious effort to think about using that item. I also try to think if I really need it (considering I forgot about it in the first place) or if maybe it has just become clutter in my drawer.
I’m grateful that I have enough. Plenty enough. And I don’t need to acquire new items in my life, nor do I need to change who I am or treat myself badly because of my shortcomings.
How do you practice being content? Do you have any tips or tricks on how to be grateful for who you are and what you own? Share it bellow and feel free to suggest other topics for this Living Simply series.