To wonder what the bloody secret to contentment is?

(255 Posts)
Tailtwister Wed 24-Jul-13 15:28:01

AIBU to wonder if contentment exists and if so, how do you damn well get it?

You meet some people who just seem so content with their lives in general and appear to be able to enjoy all the great things and not be overly bothered by the bad. They are often not those who have the most in a material sense, but seem to be so happy with what they do have IYSWIM. I would LOVE to be like that, but I'm just a discontent and dare I say it, jealous person. I hate being like that, but wonder if that's just me, the way I am.

So, all those who are content with their lot. What's the secret? Is it just a mind set which you either have or not?

SkinnybitchWannabe Wed 24-Jul-13 15:30:43

I know exactly what you mean and I wish I felt total contentment.
Sadly I don't think I ever will.

peggotty Wed 24-Jul-13 15:35:07

It's definitely a mindset. Confidence and self esteem has a lot to do with it. If you're always striving for an unachievable 'end goal' of happiness/contentment it causes discontent and an inability to live in the moment. This has been a lifelong problem for me (am 37 now) and am only just starting to get it!

WestieMamma Wed 24-Jul-13 15:36:07

I found contentment when I stopped trying to live up to my perceived ideas of what society expected of me. We're 'supposed' to have successful careers, exciting social lives, expensive foreign holidays, the latest clothes etc. Whereas I get enjoyment from pottering around my garden, staying in with my husband and having takeaway pizza, camping in Wales and living in old comfortable clothes. Once I had confidence to embrace those things, contentment came rushing in.

Tailtwister Wed 24-Jul-13 15:41:09

Yes, that's another one peggotty, I find it incredibly hard to live in the moment.

I'm not particularly materialistic. I don't spend lots of clothes, drive expensive cars or go on big holidays. I just can't put my finger on it, but although I don't particularly desire those things I envy those who have them.

TylerHopkins Wed 24-Jul-13 15:45:04

With me it was something that came with age and experience. I would see people worse off than me or in poor health and it made me realise just how lucky I was to have what I've got. It may not be much to others, those with more money, more exciting lives etc but it's a hell of a lot more than those less fortunate than myself. I've learned to accept my lot. I still have wobbles from time to time and I still work hard to achieve certain goals but I know that if I don't reach them then it's not the end of the world.

BumgrapesofWrath Wed 24-Jul-13 15:46:39

I think I'm fairly contented.

One key thing is to really not give a shit about other people's lives! I notice a lot of my friends are ridiculously competitive and envious when looking at what others have and it makes them unhappy.

Also, though happy I am a pessimist and a realist, so it something goes well for me it will have surpassed my expectations. Being pessimistic I also feel incredibly lucky for everything I do have

freddiefrog Wed 24-Jul-13 15:46:54

I am quite content, but I've no idea how I got here.

I'm massively unambitious and quite laid back, maybe it's just the way I am.

UriGeller Wed 24-Jul-13 15:48:08

I found it after a bereavement. I went wild for a bit and then had a revelation, NOTHING could be as bad as what I'd already experienced.

This revelation liberated me. I have no 'stress' in my life. I don't judge the way other people choose to live and I have found patience. I am content with my lot. I feel I still have a long way to go to reach ultimate serenity but I'm working on it.

Read Eckhart Tolle 'A New World'. Concentrate on being mindful.

I agree too with WestieMamma, try not to compare what others have with yourself.

Tailtwister Wed 24-Jul-13 15:50:18

Yes, I agree Tyler it is very sobering to think of people who are very ill or worse off in other ways. The thing is, I do have a huge amount of empathy for other people (DH says too much), yet I'm still a discontented sod. It has become worse since having children and it does feel that whatever I do it's never quite good enough.

I sound like your friends Bumgrapes. Maybe pessimism is the way forward!

Yep, I am pretty contented....most of the time.

Agree with Bumgraes - am just content with my lot and don't focus on others, on what they have, on being liked/loved by everyone. I am also a realist and so tend not to get disappointed as I have no great expectations of things/people.

Basically, what will be will be - life is full of chapters, of shit, of highs - I just go with the flow and so far so good. I am very even keeled so don't really get mood swings etc.

Cakebaker35 Wed 24-Jul-13 15:54:25

WestieMamma I couldn't agree more. I'm pretty sure contentment comes when you stop comparing yourself to others or where you think society expects you to be by now, I.e. successful career, amazing talented happy smiley kids, fabulous husband, home, holidays,...the list goes on really. Think you have to look inward a bit, figure out what you want and not give a monkeys about what others have. Like others have said, I'm only just getting this and I'm 37.

TylerHopkins Wed 24-Jul-13 15:54:44

It's easy to feel envious of those around you but if you look a bit deeper you'll see it's not all a bed of roses in most cases. Sometimes people give off this air of having everything but deep down they're lonely or are having problems in another area of their life.

Life can never be perfect because it changes so rapidly. I suppose it's how you react to those changes that counts.

RoooneyMara Wed 24-Jul-13 15:55:17

I wonder if it is something our families give us very early in life.

I have never felt contented, always anxious and worried. Always. Even when things are 'good', well I'm not sure if they ever have been.

I think a lot can be said for having a solid, stable home and stable parents who love you more than anything when you're very young.

RoooneyMara Wed 24-Jul-13 15:56:34

Yes it is your own, personal baseline that matters - not what happens to you.

If you've got a wonky baseline then everything will phase you, even if nothing happens, it still makes you worried or unhappy.

AnnabelleLee Wed 24-Jul-13 15:57:32

I think your mistake is seeking a constant, nobody is happy or content ALL of the time.
Contentment is not being envious of what others have, and not always pining for more than you've got. Striving for better, to improve, thats one thing. Sitting around coveting what others have is the worst thing you can do.

ProfYaffle Wed 24-Jul-13 15:58:11

Having a dh with a brain tumour helps! He's fine, had the ops, all clear for 5 years so far (fingers crossed, touch wood etc etc) I can recommend it for putting everything into perspective, living in the now and all that jazz.

I would say I am contented - for me I try to only stress about the big stuff. I remember worrying to my mum about something possibly going wrong on my wedding day and she said well if it does you just have to go with it and remember it will make it memorable and you'll look back and laugh as you can't change it! That sentiment I think has really stayed with me. I think for me my relationship with DH is what makes the biggest difference though, if course there are things I want/that upset me (been ttc #2 for three years) but at te end of the day if this is my life forever more I'd take it!

mrscog Wed 24-Jul-13 16:01:02

I'm a very contented person in the main, and I'd agree it comes from being true to yourself, your likes, dislikes, being honest about your bad points. And also trying to let tiny things make you really happy, even on the shittest days. I've been pretty down at times, and then one day I decided that no matter how sad I felt, every day I was going to find one thing to make me smile. One day it was simply finding the shiniest 20p you've ever seen in the street. I've held on to this (approach not the 20p - I imagine that got spent on booze as I was at uni at the time) and I think it's partly why I'm so content now.

Tailtwister Wed 24-Jul-13 16:02:34

That must have shaken you very badly ProfYaffle and posts like mine must seem very self indulgent to you.

There's a lot of food for thought in these posts and a lot of very good advice. I am reading with interest and will re-read once I have some headspace (children currently fighting).

farrowandbawl Wed 24-Jul-13 16:02:47

For me it was the day I decided not to care about what any one else thought. I stopped trying to please everyone. I stopped looking at facebook. I stopped comparing not just myself but my children to everyone else too. I stopped giving a mokeys about what I'm supposed to do, what I should be doing and what people expect me to do.

Now, I'm contented. I answer to no-one. I don't regret any decisions I've made, I don't second guess myself, I realise that everyone else is just the same. Have the same insecurities, the same niggles, the same voices of self doubt, the same wish for something better....and none of it matters. None of it at all.

If you are happy in your choices you make, not just in your life but day to day. You can sit back and review the choice you have made, learn from the bad and make note of the good, everything else just melts into the background.

AidanTheRevengeNinja Wed 24-Jul-13 16:03:14

My gran used to have the Desiderata on her wall, and one line stuck with me:

"If you compare yourself to others you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be others greater and lesser than yourself"

I think of this when I find myself getting discontent, as it's usually a result of feeling I am missing out on something x has (not necessarily a material thing).

insanityscratching Wed 24-Jul-13 16:03:23

I'm pretty much content but then I've always been easy going, laid back and probably boring tbh. I'm happy just having my family near and I don't really want for more than what we have. I have two children with disabilities and I think my outlook changed and really so long as we are happy together as a family then that is enough for me.

Wetwood656 Wed 24-Jul-13 16:04:07

For me I live in thankfulness for what I have (hope that doesn't sound twee!) and that helps me feel content and happy with my life. I've had a lot of sad times but I thank the universe every day for my children, job and house etc and it does mean I am in a more positive state than if I dwelt on bad things

TylerHopkins Wed 24-Jul-13 16:04:19

ProYaffle so happy to hear such a positive outcome.

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