Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FIVE Secrets to Contentment

I am sure that most of us have felt that finding contenment was just always beyond our grasp. We tell ourselves, if I could just have this, I am sure I would be content. It is like watching the tail of a shooting star and assuring ourselves if we could just grab on we could make that wild ride towards being content. Most of us find that we are not content at some time in our lives and even find ourselves envious of others. Just remember that we do not fully know anyone else's lives and do not really know everything they have on their plate. If we did know, we would probably not trade with them. Benjamin Franklin wisely said: "Content (ment) makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor."

Too many of us find that we love the idea of possessions and money. If we could just simplify our lives and not worry so much about having the bigger, better car or fancy home etc. we might find that our lives are not nearly so complicated. I found myself after college worrying about what people would think of me because I could not "afford" to buy a new car or even own a home. Those worries really ate at me for a while. Then I realized that I loved the job I had and woke up excited each day to create something new or start a new painting. The simplicity of my life made me realize that time spent with family and friends was much more important than an empty possession or an empty house. Learning to love people for who they are and not for what they have is really simple and easy. So many people give of themselves with no thought for what they might get in return....I want to be like that too.

Comparing to others is difficult not to do. The effect of this is really not much more than negative thinking. It will eat you alive and your days will become less fullfilling because negative thoughts take up so much energy. Capturing joy in your heart and sharing it with others is so simple and actually adds energy to your life rather than taking it away. It takes 10 positive thoughts to replace 1 negative thought. Being grateful and happy with what you have is a daily lesson to remember and practice.

Maintaining an appreciative attitude may seem difficult at first. It sometimes even requires rethinking things and trying to look at what is happening to us from a different angle. After my hand surgery, I was so depressed and upset. It seemed like a bad blow to me and it felt as if all my creative energy had vanished. Just recently, I discovered that my left hand can do exactly what my right hand can...not as fast, but it is possible. I can still create because I have not lost my brain or imagination...just some dexterity in my right hand. When my hand gets sore and tired, I am reminded of the gift that I have both hands and I really do appreciate that I have a skill I can share with others.

Choosing friends wisely can be a daunting task. Mostly we still find ourselves getting caught up in what others have and what it seems like we do not have at that time. A true friend will encourage you in all your endeavors and will be content with all they have been given. True friends have your best interest at heart and the air of competition with each other simply does not exist. You are happy when they have success and will listen and cry when needed. A true friend does not judge or condemn you...they simply love you for who you are and will support you without question. Friends always help find the silver lining in any rainy day cloud.

Our spiritual needs are with us every day. Spirituality does not just happen in a church. We must find the opportunity to thank God in every moment of every day. Meeting our spiritual needs is a process that grows and changes with us. When I have been most afraid, I cannot let the fear take over and control me. In my mind and heart, I search for a quiet place that reminds me that God is still with me. Please allow me to find him in everything around me and with everything I do.

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