I was taught that contentment is something to avoid in my life.
First by someone who was trying to keep me from changing, who was shaming me (unknowingly) for wanting to have more. They told me that I should just be happy with what I had. This didn’t work for me because I knew there was more that I was capable of creating in my life. (And it discounted that I WAS grateful for what I had already.) So I wanted to get as far away from the idea of being content as I could. That was my limited view of the word contentment.
As I got into my 20’s I had a very influential mentor and “tribe” that also impressed upon me (and I was VERY impressionable!) that being content was the worst thing you could do. You should never stop striving and wanting and never be satisfied with what you have because then you would be SETTLING! And that was to be avoided at all costs.
Though I could on some level buy into this (and did for years), it never worked for me. I am a person of great gratitude for what I have in my life, I always have been, and at the same time I have a big vision for creating more in my life and through my life. I have always thought that both are possible, yet I lacked the way to fully express that.
And then a breakthrough.
I got a new word to think about this week- contend. And specifically in the context of having CONTENTMENT while CONTENDING.
I guess I was looking for permission to be about both- and I was forgetting that I could give MYSELF permission! I don’t need that from anyone else, but learning this week allowed me to finally give myself permission to fully accept that YES, I can do both- I can be fully grateful and grounded in what I have, at the same time I am contending for more in my life. I know that when I have more in my life, I am much more able to bless other people’s lives.
There is so much good, and yet there is so much more of this life and this world to explore, experience and delight in. There is so much about myself I am grateful for, and that includes all that I have learned about myself and how I have grown as a person- and I also know that my personal and professional growth is expansive and endless.
It’s another both/and moment, as opposed to either/or.
What have you been taught about contentment? How is that impacting you, maybe even subconsciously? Where did those beliefs come from? Maybe you know, maybe you don’t. It is okay- but if you do know, like I do, it allows you to look at those sources with understanding of where they were coming from and why it might be true to them, and allows me to see myself as a separate person. I can discern what is true for me, by understanding them.
The person who tried to get me to stop creating a better life was afraid that I might not wan/needt them in my life as I created more. They also feared the reflection about what they were not willing to work for or create in their own life. See that- FEAR.
The person who wanted me to be about contending only wanted to keep me caught in the snare of not believing in myself and my own personal power, they wanted me to count on them fully for validation by not feeling good about myself and my life. If I need them, I spend more money and they have control over me while I strive to keep up with them and everyone in order to get that validation.
These people were only acting out of their own truths and beliefs. And in some cases, fears. They are not bad people. I am grateful that I am able to learn this, so that I can choose for myself.
I was asked recently to make a list of what I am content with in my life and another list of what I am contending for in my life. I offer that idea to you- both are important and making these lists solidified that for me. Try it for yourself, if you like.
Write about who has influenced you in this area and what might have been true for them as they tried to impact you.