When You Are Discontent
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.”