May 24, 2014

Contentment is the Key to Happiness

Health, Contentment, Faithfulness
Wise saying by Buddha.
This is another point that I have been thinking about for some time now. We all search for happiness, no matter how wealthy or poor we are, what we are all looking for, ultimately is happiness. Sometimes we think, the new iPhone or the galaxy tab will give us happiness, sometimes it is that huge bungalow or that apartment in that super-luxurious building, getting laid with that hot guy/girl or simply marrying the love of your life or sometimes maybe just a roof on our head or the next meal.

But over time & through some experience, I have realized, the key to happiness lies within us, at least for those of us who do not have to worry about our next meal or having a roof on our head or wearing clothes (not saying branded here, but just clothes. & if you think such conditions do not exist anymore, visit India or Africa & you will see that they do.) i.e. we have at least physiological & safety needs fulfilled from the Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

That key to happiness is, Contentment.

What is contentment?

This is very difficult to answer, because different people feel contented in different conditions. In fact, I myself feel contented at different times & different situations affect it. But what I imply by contentment here is simple, to be satisfied with what you have, no matter how little or how much it is & feel grateful for what you have. 
Easier said than done? Trust me if you are thinking that, it is true. Although I am writing this post, but at various times in my life, I have failed at this miserably. The freshest & the biggest of these failures completely ruined a beautiful relationship I had with a truly wonderful girl. & believe me, I have thought about it over & over again many times, & I have learnt a lot since then through introspection. This post is not being taken from a book or what others tell me, but through my own experience, of which that relationship & person were a great contributor.

No matter what & who we have, we have to learn to appreciate it or even having that becomes pointless. No matter how little we have, we have to be content with it. This is not to say, that we must not work for greater or better things, that is completely okay, but we must not be disappointed if we do not get them, because it is not the not-having-that-thing that makes us unhappy, it is our own expectation of happiness on having that thing which makes us unhappy.

Let me give you an example. Back in college, I used to carry a Nokia 1100 & a second-hand half-broken laptop whose screen I had to hold with one hand or place along the wall so that it wouldn't fall. Today I have an iPhone & a MacBook which is a great ++ over the Nokia 1100 & the college laptop. That should make me happy. But here is what happens in real life (though I am happy, that didn't happen with me) the moment, the next iPhone or the MacBook Pro comes to market, that phone/laptop we own suddenly becomes "ages old" in our own perception & we think we cannot work on it etc. We think we have to have the new one because "that will make us happy." But that is actually not true, it will make up happy maybe for a few days or a year until the next updated model comes around. This is not true happiness. Because if that gadget gave us true happiness, it would last even after the newer latest model came out.
True Happiness is that which lasts. 
 & that true happiness comes when we are content with what we have, because our expectations are lowered which when put into the equation of happiness, Happiness = Reality - Expectations, makes are happiness closer to reality.

If we are not content, no matter what or how much we have, we are not happy. When we are content, no matter how little we have keeps us happy.

Related Posts : Happiness is a Choice, not just a Chance

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