Unlocking the Power of Contentment

4 ways to experience it more, and why you should

Jennifer Haubrich

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Photo by Margaret Jaszowska on Unsplash

Sometimes, on a rare sunny Saturday morning when we don’t have anywhere to be, my husband or I will make a run to the local European-style bakery to buy a couple of baguettes and croissants. Then we’ll come home and assemble them on a tray, along with hot cups of coffee, jam, butter, and fruit.

We take the tray upstairs and open the blinds in one of our bedrooms to allow the rising sun to shine in. Even on winter mornings, the sun’s rays through the window are enough to cast a warm spotlight on the bed. Then we lie down and feast like Romans. We chat and take deep breaths of enjoyment. We don’t worry about the crumbs.

It’s easy in these moments to get the sense that we’re in a hotel room in some beautiful locale. It feels like a mini vacation. What I love about these moments is not just the decadent breakfast or the fact that in contrast to weekdays, they are so relaxed and enjoyable. It’s that, for a little while, just an hour or so, we can just feel content. And that’s a pretty rare feeling.

No one wants you to be content

Society seems to value those who aren’t content. These attitudes are admired: Not wanting to rest, not wanting to settle, and certainly not being content with the status quo. I get it, but isn’t it funny that while many people want to be “content creators” few seem to wish to be content themselves?

I think that’s because many people think of “being content” in the wrong way. I don’t think it’s something you are. Instead, contentment is a feeling of quiet happiness and satisfaction you can experience. You can do this even if you dream of something more or different in the future.

My husband dreams of a house in the south of France with a view of the Mediterranean and a recording studio in the backyard. Here in the American suburbs, there’s no sparkling water view. And only a makeshift studio in the basement. But during our weekend bed breakfasts, that doesn’t stop him from feeling content.

In moments of contentment, what has happened in the past and what may or may not occur in the future don’t matter. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t dishes in the sink, unfair wars…

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Jennifer Haubrich

It's all about relationships, with ourselves, others, and the world. Trying to live a better life. Sometimes funny.