3 ways to absolute contentment

You have enough. If you’re reading this post, the chances are you have a roof over your head, food to put on the table and even your own computer with an internet connection. You may not be a millionaire, but you don’t have to be.

We are told our whole lives that we don’t want to fail at life. What does that mean? Apparently it means we don’t want to go through life without a job with a posh title, a big house and a flashy car.

But what if everything we’ve been told is wrong? What would happen to us if we decide we don’t want to be trapped in the rat race?

We’d be free.

And the key to freedom? It’s contentment. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to achieve your best or not try to change anything. It means just being happy with where you are now, and stop trying to grasp onto something in the future that keeps moving forward just a quickly as we do. Just like a donkey trying to get the carrot on a stick, we would never reach happiness if we keep chasing something that moves away just as we think we’re getting closer.

How to be content with what you have

1. Remember that: “I have lived x number of years without y”. When Steve Jobs released the iPad, people couldn’t really decide what they needed it for until they got one. Then they magically found all sorts of uses for it. A lot of the time, we create reasons to want stuff so that we can make the excuse that we need it. But we really don’t. We’re just trying to justify a new purchase so that we don’t feel guilty spending lots of money on more junk. Some things are useful, and really do grant us freedom, like the washing machine, but that was invented decades ago.

2. Don’t depend on stuff for security. Many people feel the need to be surrounded by stuff as if they need to affirm that they are working for something. My parents are very guilty of this. I love them very much, but because of their extremely poor background, they simply cannot throw anything away. They feel the need to hoard things because getting rid of it ‘would be a waste’. Even though we have enough money now to buy something many times over, they have created an emotional attachment to things that they need to feel ‘safe’. They’re scared that if they don’t have anything, then everything they’ve worked for has amounted to nothing too. If only they could realise that this doesn’t make any sense. They didn’t work for stuff they worked for us, they’ve built a wonderful family, and that’s something that can never be thrown away.

3. Stop needing to prove yourself. The amount of stuff you have isn’t a measurement of your worth. Almost everyone says this, and yet almost no one follows it. Just because a person has a nice kitchen, or their car has a bigger engine, doesn’t mean they’re better. People feel the need to acquire money as if they’re points in the the Game of Life and whoever has the most at the end is the winner. Real life isn’t like that. The real measurements are intangible things like kindness, generosity, love, knowledge, experience and happiness. That’s the kind of stuff Life is made of.

Just be content with what you have. Be happy right now. Then you don’t have to go chasing for it.

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  • Bethanie

    Surely I am not the only one who thinks she is blessed with far too much…am I? I have enough of everything, and an aboundance of most everything. And people still ask me what I want for my birhtday or Christmas. I have told them time and time and time again, “Please don’t get me anyhting. Just having a chance to visit with you is all I want.” Has anyone figured out how to make people believe and thus follow through with this? If so, please share. I truly do not want for anything. Thanks for another great post. And I will now step down from my soap box. Thank you and good night.

  • Jake

    I just discovered your blog today, Jessica, and I have been enjoying it immensely. You have a very clear and engaging writing style. Thank you for sharing your ideas on Minimalism!

    It seems to me that the key to finding contentment is living fully in the present moment. Be happy with things as they are right now. Take the time to enjoy the simple things and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, whether that’s the rich orange tapestry of an early morning sunrise, the unselfconscious laughter of a child or just spending time with friends and loved ones.

    I also think it’s important to stop thinking that things outside of yourself cause you to be happy or sad. Being happy has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have, or what someone else does or doesn’t do. Causation is always internal.


  • Siddartha67

    jessica,ive discovered minimalism on a forced basis only to realize it was my way all along…i lost a job I lothed a year ago(blessing!),ive been on unemployment at only a subsistence income(challenging AND provocative!), and I moved to a new state to be near the mountains where I love being(awesome!). It’s amazing what you can do,find,explore,andcreate on next to nothing!! im refining my life everyday…its a challenge,but I’m really seeing whats important to me -doing what I love and spending time with those I really care about!! whats more important than that??!?!
    AND I discovered that all the modern conveniences that we think we need just end up making us sick – from fast food to electronic devices to houses crammed full of the lasted most fashionable things – the more flashy it is,the less positive effect it will have on our wellbeing!!

    Thanx for sharing….you are very inspirational – you’ve remended me why I always admired my oldest brother – he’s a minimalist like you!! ; )

    • Anonymous

      Dear Siddartha67, thank you for all of your comments, I read every one of them 🙂

      I’m so glad that you found my blog helpful, I’m sorry I can’t reply to all of your comments but I pretty much agree with a lot of the things you say 🙂

      I hope to hear from you again,

  • Abhishek Bemby

    Hi jessica, ur words r very helpful to change one’s life from being sad to happy. Thank u for the post it is really helpful to go ahead positively : )