Have you ever wanted something so bad, but you still feel unhappy and unsatisfied when you get it? This could be because you didn’t really want the thing. It could also be due to a lack of contentment.
Society tells us that our happiness is tied to our income, accomplishments, or possessions. So, we run around wanting more without getting any satisfaction. But the truth is, lack of contentment has nothing to do with the people around us, our circumstances, or what we own. Contentment comes from within ourselves.
In this article, we discuss what inner contentment really is, what causes you to feel a lack of contentment, plus tips on how to actually achieve inner contentment!
What is inner contentment?
Inner contentment is the acceptance of who you are and what you have at any given moment. Having inner contentment means you are not dependent on things, people, and circumstances to make you happy.
Hence, the secret of contentment is being in control of your own happiness. When you’ve developed a strong sense of inner contentment, your outlook in life is not easily shaken or changed by what’s happening in your environment.
On the other hand, lack of contentment is that feeling of being unhappy or “meh” about your circumstances. It could also show up as envy towards other people’s possessions and accomplishments.
As humans, we’re not very good at being true to ourselves or accepting our full selves. But your reaction to situations like a friend of yours posting a photo of her designer bag can tell you a lot about yourself.
Do you cheer her on, or do you say something negative? When you catch yourself being triggered and feeling jealous, don’t judge yourself. Acknowledge how you feel, consider it with curiosity, and use it as a tool to become self-aware, which is a great starting point in developing inner contentment.
What causes a lack of contentment?
The lack of contentment we feel is not surprising when almost everything around us promotes discontent. In this digital world we live in, we are bombarded with images and messages of not being enough until we have the house, the car, the awards, the perfect body, etc.
This is why the weight loss industry is worth $250 billion dollars. And that aside from the food and beverage industry, women’s clothing generates more income than any other sector in the world.
We have a society that encourages us to connect our values and self-esteem to what we do or have. On top of this, we also haven’t taken the time to figure out our values and priorities.
Your values define what’s important to you and ultimately narrow down what you prioritize. But a lot of us walk around not knowing what we are because we’re too busy achieving goals that don’t make us happy and buying things we don’t really want.
We also get stuck in discontent when we base our contentment on things we can’t control. What other people think, what they feel, or how they’re going to react is beyond our control. So, when we rely on people to make us happy, it can lead to a lack of contentment and overall dissatisfaction with life.
5 Steps to get over feeling a lack of contentment
Learning to be content is a journey. When we have inner contentment, whatever is happening around us does not shake our peace. We remain happy with what we have while striving to do better without comparison, jealousy, or resentment.
Isn’t that such an inviting place to be? So, here are some steps you can take to get over feeling a lack of contentment.
1. Express gratitude
The secret of contentment is gratitude, especially for the little things. Sometimes we forget that we don’t need big reasons to be grateful.
It can be annoying to be reminded of this when you’re in debt or just trying to get by, and you see other people who seem to get everything they want. But take a deep breath and remind yourself that it is a blessing that you’re able to do that.
And then look around and pick out other details in your life that you’re lucky to have. These could be simple things like the little arms around your neck or big things like a promotion you’ve prayed for and already got.
There’s no shortage of things to be thankful for if that’s what you're looking for. The same way that you’ll feel a lack of contentment for everything you don’t have if that’s what you choose to focus on.
2. Develop healthy habits
Another secret of contentment is being healthy. When our bodies and minds are healthy, we feel good, which increases our sense of contentment. This is why it’s important for us to develop healthy habits towards things like what we eat, how we move, or how much screen time we consume.
So, take time to plan your meals or exercise, both of which are healthy habits that help build your inner contentment.
3. Pause to break the buying habit
Having a lack of contentment can cause you to buy things you don't really need. Try to plan and budget for your purchases. Marketing uses urgency to make you buy immediately, but remember it’s only a bargain if you were planning to buy it to begin with.
Give it a thought and decide on a timeframe you’d want to use – give yourself an hour, 24 hours, or a week, it’s up to you. Every time you get the urge to buy impulsively, pause and wait out the timeframe.
If you still want the item after waiting, then go ahead and buy it. But you’ll probably find that you won’t even remember why you wanted it. So, waiting will help you break the habit of shopping impulsively.
4. Connect with others
Surround yourself with people who have the qualities you want to develop. If you tend to be negative, befriend people who are happy and content. It will help you learn how to look at things from another perspective.
And cultivate loving relationships with the people you already have in your life. Invest time and effort to show them that you love them and appreciate them. Fill your days with kind words and actions, give more hugs and say “I love you” more often.
5. Live in the moment
A lot of people wait for the weekend, when they’re retired or that “one day” when everything they’ve ever wanted will magically happen. But that day may never come. Instead, take time to do one thing you enjoy every day, even if that’s just putting on your headphones and dancing to your favorite song.
This is the importance of contentment, you experience life now. You’re not waiting for a day when you can truly live. So, look for opportunities to savor the simple joys of daily life.
You may find that there’s so much happiness to be gained from mundane things like a walk, a good book, or a meal shared with the people you love.
Start with small changes to combat lack of contentment!
There is a freedom that comes from having inner contentment. You’re in control of your own happiness. And you can finally get off the hamster wheel of chasing goals, achieving milestones, or owning material things that society told you will make you happy.
This is the importance of contentment – you get to be you and enjoy who you are. Create the feeling of contentment by defining your values and making small changes like practicing gratitude daily. Now you know the secret of contentment so you can start living your best life today!