The word "content" has been cropping up around me lately.
I've been reading "Reshaping It All" by Candace Cameron Bure (more on that later) and she talks about being content quite a bit. Last night I spent some time cleaning out my inbox. In an e-mail from 2008 (!) there it was again. It was a prayer, supposedly by Saint Teresa, saying among other things to "trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be... be content knowing you are a child of God."
I'm getting the idea that maybe I should be thinking more about being content now instead of trying to fix/change things so that I can be content later. Makes sense. You always hear people say if you can't be happy with what you've got what makes you think you'll be happier with something else and bloom where you're planted and other things like that. It all boils down to being content, doesn't it?
So what exactly does it mean?
One of the many online dictionaries defines it as being "mentally or emotionally satisfied with things the way they are; assenting to or willing to accept circumstances; peace of mind.
Does being content mean that you should accept the status quo or that don't want to improve or change things? I don't think so. I think it means to be OK with how things are right now even as you seek change - whether through learning, training, moving, changing jobs, etc. That you don't sit around and complain about how bad things are or how you wish things were different but that you make the best of it and move on.
I've thought quite a bit in the last year or so about doing my own Happiness Project but haven't done much with it other than read the book and many others, highlight important passages, and essentially just think about it. Maybe a good way to start would be to practice contentment. Be content with where and how I am now. That doesn't mean I won't continue to work on improving myself and my surroundings...just that those improvements won't be so much a measure of who I am or my present state of happiness. Whether I take a step forward or two steps back, I can be content where I am so that it doesn't seem a failure to not be going further or faster.
That all sounds good, right. So, just need to figure out how to get that contentment (along with the self-control and willpower I discussed yesterday). Sometimes it really does seem as if Egypt would be easier, but that's not where I want to be now or in the future...