Does anyone else dream about all the things you could do if you had no obligations like work, kids, family, problems? Like sip kombucha on your Pinterest worthy patio oasis while listening to your favorite podcast and snapchatting your happy life?
It’s easy to think that another version of your life would be better.
We are of course shown the happy life in any number of ways through Pinterest, Instagram, every advertisement ever!
If I’m being honest, one of the constant work’s in progress in my life is being content. I am constantly asking myself, “How am I being content in the moments now that I have been given? What can I truly change about my circumstances?”
It’s not as much as we think even though you will find several people on any given media channel telling you to create the life you want. Many things in life will happen outside of our control. Can we make choices? Yes, of course. But we are also surrounded by other people’s choices that have a direct impact on our own lives. Bottom line, where we think circumstances will bring about true contentment, it won’t.
Contentment and gratitude or truly living a life you are happy with has more to do with attitude and character. And it’s hard.
So many days, I think, “will there be a month I don’t have to pep talk myself into having the right attitude or focus?” Sure I have days of contentment and peace, but I am constantly sifting through my thoughts and attitudes to discern if the discontent I feel is pushing me towards a purpose I’m wired for or if it’s just my sin nature rearing it’s ugly head.
Maybe the perfectionist in me is a little unrealistic in that every area of my life will feel together at every moment. So, there may be fulfillment in one area, but these other areas are lacking. But feeling together and contentment are two totally different things.
So I find myself thinking, do I need to change my attitude in this situation or is this a problem I actually need to address or change? Or do I simply just need to approach my day differently and redirect my attitude overall?
Sometimes, it can feel exhausting keeping our attitude in check. It feels to me like a workout I don’t enjoy like doing as many burpees as you can in a minute. As hard as burpees are, the mental workouts are so much harder.
If I commit to a workout program or training for a race, I see the tangible rewards of reaching my goal through perseverance. But mentally, wow, this is a much longer journey especially the journey of contentment.
What do tangible results look like really when I’m trying to change mentally?
The things pulling us to be discontent are often the things screaming louder in the day to day. I know I need to provide space to quiet my mind to allow the attitudes I want to surface to the top to climb their way up. I need to be honest with myself. And I need to practice gratitude. Some days, the mental workout may be so hard, all I can say is I’m thankful for my cup of coffee. Other days, three things pop into my head quickly.
I often relate everything I do to my fitness journey because it is such a tangible example for me. I don’t just arrive in my fitness. If I stop doing what got me there, I will lose the level of fitness I have achieved. I must continue habits that cultivate my fitness. Some days, what I can accomplish because of energy may be different. Some days I feel like an athlete in action during my workout and other days, I’m eeking out 10 minutes of a workout video. But the consistency and long haul approach pays off. Over time, the workouts get easy, and I change what I’m doing to challenge myself. The idea of not working out seems absurd.
So I’ve taken what I’ve learned in my fitness journey and applying it to this idea of contentment.
- Regular gratitude
- Being honest with myself with my thought life
- Putting truth’s that transcend the everyday back into my mind
These are the mental workouts I have found helpful. In a couple months, just like I do with fitness, I’ll check back in with myself and see how these workouts have impacted my contentment.
Be happy and whole friends! Xo, Liz