As long as we’re alive, they’ll be no shortage of days that disappoint. Whether it be a relationship in turmoil or a sense of what is missing in our life, our circumstances can lead to feelings of discontentment.
Those realizations then lead to an emotional response.
Maybe we’re angry, hurt, frustrated, lonely, jealous, happy, or bored.
When the emotion gets triggered, we can either have a healthy response to it or an unhealthy response.
Harmful reactions to these emotions often lead us to impulse spending, compulsive hoarding, overeating, gambling, and alcoholism to name a few.
6 Ways To Be More Content
The revolution of social media and TV shows like Keeping Up With Kardashians, The Real Housewives of Atlanta and any other show that glorifies overindulgence has spewed a deeper sense of discontentment in our society.
If you watch these shows, which I do not, you almost can’t help but feel jealous of these people’s material possessions. They flaunt it in the face of their viewers, and they do so proudly.
If you’re at all in the wrong state of mind, this can lead to feelings of envy and spawn your desire to attempt to keep up with people you don’t even know. Before you know it you’re at the mall wracking up serious credit card debt. Months later when looking at your growing credit balance, you wonder what on earth did you buy.
If this cycle continues for too long, you could easily find yourself with serious credit card debt in the hundreds of thousands. I know, I did this myself.
The constant battle to keep up with other people is emotionally draining and exhausting.
If you’re at that place where you’re tired of trying to keep up with others, and you’re craving contentment, but you don’t know where to begin, here’s six ways.
How To Be More Content
1. Stop Filling Emotional Needs with Stuff
We have been brainwashed into believing that if you’re unhappy, go shopping, and it will make everything better.
You can’t shop your way to happy. I know, because I tried. My efforts created over 50K in personal debt!
Your restless heart can never be satisfied by material possessions. Instead, you must look at the cause of your discontent. You must sit with your emotions and try and figure out what is making you unhappy.
Once you understand the cause of your emotional discontentment, you can begin to find healthier ways to fill your unmet emotional needs in a manner that does not require money.
Is this hard?
It can be especially true if you’re resistant to uncovering your issues. But the truth of the matter is most of us are tiring to fill our unmet need for one of four basic things: love and belonging; value and significance; recognition and respect; and status and validation.
So no matter where you are with your debt and spending, whether it be extreme or still somewhat manageable, if you can figure out what makes you tick – your emotional side of money – and how to fill the void in a healthier way so that you can have a balanced relationship with the almighty dollar, you can permanently free yourself from the endless cycle of buying just to make yourself feel better.
Related: The Emotional Side Effects of Debt
2. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s easy to get caught up in comparing. Unless you live in a bubble, the occasions to compare are endless. Social media provides an endless supply of opportunities.
So, if you’re struggling with the comparison beast, do yourself a favor and get off social media. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and all the other social media platforms out there do nothing except encourage an environment of comparison.
Jane posts her “new car” so she can show off and make others feel envious of her. Mary posts a picture of her hot date so all her friends who are at home on a Saturday night can feel bad their dateless.
Social media, when used in this way, feeds the narcissistic tendencies and fuels other’s people’s insecurities.
So if you struggle in this area, and comparison is stealing your joy, taking a respite from all the social media hoopla will do you wonders.
But comparison is the thief of joy.
Comparing yourself to others is sure to bring you discontentment. Here’s the thing – we always compare the worst in ourselves to the assumed best in someone else. But you don’t know if your assumptions about that person are true or not because they are only the thoughts in your mind. Their life isn’t as perfect as your mind makes it out to be.
Realize that your unique talents, gifts, and individual traits are what makes you beautiful and that’s a good thing.
Related: Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
3. Adopt An Attitude of Gratitude
When we are open to gratitude, we see clearly and perfectly how much good there is in our life. Gratitude affirms that very fact.
We will always be faced with challenges in our lives. There is no limit to what we don’t have, and if we focus on the lack in our lives, we will inevitably be filled with an abundant amount of pain and dissatisfaction. But when we can look at our lives, with a focus on what is right, we experience gratitude.
Like other attitudes, gratitude can be cultivated. We can develop gratitude by reflecting on the gifts that we already have.
Gratitude is the memory of our own heart I once heard someone say. It is, therefore, an expression of love and abiding friendship which transforms itself into deed.
When you come from a place of being grateful for your talents and abilities, you’re less likely to make ugly comparisons with others. You are unique, brilliant and a work in progress. You get to choose what you want to improve upon in your life and when. No one else.
Gratitude allows you to be accepting of everything in your life.
One way to learn how to cultivate gratitude in your life is to start journaling. I’ve started using The Five Minute Journal, and I absolutely love it. It’s a gratitude journal that helps me to focus on the good in my life, become more mindful, and live with intention. It’s got a built-in structured format based on positive psychology research. You start and end your day with gratitude and the side effects include increased happiness, better relationships, and more optimism.
What could be better than that? The Five Minute Journal could be the key to unlocking more joy in your life!
Related: The Power of Gratitude In Our Lives
4. Be Happy
People who are discontent are often waiting for something to happen to make them happy – “when I make ________ I’ll be happy” or “when I get my new car, I’ll be happy.”
But happiness is an inside job, and it’s your job to choose happiness. It’s that simple – choose happiness every day, and you’re discontent will fall by the wayside.
5. Live With Passion
Where is your passion? What do you love to do? What makes your heart and soul sing? Is it photography? Blogging? Cooking?
Whatever it is, do it with reckless abandon.
When you’re following your dreams and living your life based on what you value most, there is little room for discontent.
6. Be of Service To Others
Nothing helps put your head on straight than when you’re in service to others.
When we stop to take the time to help someone in need, it pushes our problems and discontent to the side, and instead, we focus on helping another solve a problem. There’s nothing better for the heart and soul.
Next time you find yourself discontent with your life, stop and find a place to volunteer your time. Help a friend, a sick child or help an elderly neighbor in need.
Giving of your time to someone who needs it provides a fantastic opportunity for you to appreciate what you own, who you are, and what you have to offer.
So if you’re tired of trying to keep up with people, you don’t know and probably don’t even like. If you’re ready to enjoy your life on your terms. If you deeply desire contentment and you’re ready to learn ways to be more content, these six little lessons will pave the way for you. Apply them regularly, daily even, and you’ll begin to see how your mindset is shifting away from the materialism of the world and instead towards a simpler way of being.