When You Are Dis­con­tent

The Freeman - - OPINION -

There are mo­ments in our life wherein we are dis­con­tent. It seems that ev­ery­thing is not enough. On this mat­ter, I would like to share this story writ­ten by Leo Babauta in the Zen habits web­site:

“I was talk­ing to a loved one yes­ter­day, a woman who has ev­ery­thing: an in­cred­i­ble house with a swim­ming pool, a won­der­ful hus­band, two smart and beau­ti­ful and good­hearted chil­dren, and a life of mostly leisure. But as we were talk­ing about con­tent­ment with life, she said, ‘That’s

Filipinos are known to share strong bonds with their fam­i­lies. It is one of the val­ues that mo­ti­vates them to work hard, with some even go­ing as far as fly­ing abroad to be­come OFWs, over­seas work­ers, just to give their fam­i­lies a bet­ter life.

what I need – I need to find con­tent­ment.’ And there were tears in her eyes.”

Babauta cites, “She’s not alone. Many peo­ple feel that there is some­thing miss­ing from their lives, that de­spite hav­ing ev­ery­thing they need they aren’t happy, aren’t con­tent, can­not find sat­is­fac­tion.”

I, too, have my own mo­ments of dis­con­tent. When this kind of feel­ing hits me, I would shift my fo­cus. I would re­mem­ber the story of a man who com­plained he didn’t have a new pair of shoes, un­til he saw a man across the street who had no feet. Or I would re­mind my­self of a reader of my col­umn whom I vis­ited re­cently. She’s on a wheel­chair, half-par­a­lyzed due to a car ac­ci­dent when she was in her 30s. She’s alone in her rented room. But de­spite her con­di­tion there was no trace of bit­ter­ness or dis­con­tent on her face.

For times when we feel dis­con­tent in life, Babauta gives tips to over­come it:

• Change your at­ti­tude and per­spec­tive. This is huge. I can’t over­state the im­por­tance of how you look at things. By chang­ing your at­ti­tude, you can be­come happy, al­most im­me­di­ately. It’s a choice.

• Ap­pre­ci­ate what you have. You al­ready have amaz­ing things in your life, whether you re­al­ize it or not. Most of us have in­cred­i­ble fam­ily mem­bers, friends, other loved ones who love us back. Learn to ap­pre­ci­ate what a mir­a­cle that is. Most of us have

good health, which is an­other mir­a­cle. Most of eyes have eyes, with which to en­joy the amaz­ing mir­a­cles of sun­sets and na­ture and beauty all around us. Most of us have ears, with which to en­joy mu­sic, one of the great­est mir­a­cles ever. Be grate­ful for each of th­ese things, and more. Take time ev­ery day, through­out the day, to thank life for all that it has given you, to thank oth­ers for what they give you, be grate­ful.

• Find good in ev­ery­thing. Ev­ery­thing can be seen in a neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive way. Find the good in any­thing that nor­mally irks you, in any­one whom you have is­sues with.

• Start be­liev­ing that you can change things. A gen­eral feel­ing that things are too dif­fi­cult to change, that they’ll never change and get bet­ter, can it­self be the cause of your prob­lems. In­stead, start be­liev­ing that you can make things bet­ter, and you can change things – I’ve done it, and many, many oth­ers have too. It’s pos­si­ble.

• En­joy the mo­ment. What­ever you’re do­ing right now, or at any time dur­ing the day, take the time to en­joy it. It’s good for the soul.

As a fi­nal shot, here’s food-for-thought from Chi­nese philoso­pher Lao Tzu: “There is no greater sin than de­sire. No greater curse than dis­con­tent… There­fore, he who knows that enough is enough will al­ways have enough.”

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