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?

Ragwort Wed 24-Jul-13 16:04:56

I think I am very content with my life, it is not 100% perfect, I struggle with being a parent, my marriage is only 'so-so', I don't have a particularly close relationship with my siblings, don't have a pension grin, struggled with being fat over-weight all my life BUT I know I am very, very fortunate compared to most people throughout the world; I don't have to go out to work, can be a SAHM with school aged child, have a very comfortable home, have my own car, no real money worries, have a wide circle of friends, do lots of interesting voluntary work, within reason can do my food shopping without some of the worries you see on Mumsnet, am more than happy to buy my clothes at charity shops.

I have a strong faith, I think that helps me, material things mean very little to me. I have a strong sense of self esteem as well so I am confident and I think that counts for a lot. I have a lovely saying on my desk 'Happiness is wanting what you have'. smile.

Although as someone else commented, I am not at all ambitious, in fact I am probably quite lazy and happy to coast along with my life.

PoppettyPing Wed 24-Jul-13 16:05:29

I'm also pretty content. I don't have much money or things. I couldn't give less of a shit what other people have or what people think of me. I treat others with compassion and dont get too wound up about things I cant control. I think reading a lot about mindfulness and Buddhist philosophies is helpful to understand how we create a lot of our own miseries, and how to let go a little. I think happiness is a skill that anyone can learn with a bit of patience.

Keztrel Wed 24-Jul-13 16:06:24

This will sound random but I'm contented and have been ever since I came off the Pill. The Pill affected the way I saw the world and made me worry constantly about the future instead of being happy with the now. So I think it's your baseline mood rather than actual circumstances in your life (within reason) that allow you to be contented.

And as mrscog said, focusing on your own likes and desires and goals rather than wanting what someone else has is essential. If you're working towards your own, genuine goals, that come from within you rather than from an idea of what you think you ought to be doing, then you're not going to care what others are up to.

TylerHopkins Wed 24-Jul-13 16:07:33

Other people's possessions do not matter to me in the slightest. If a friend buys or boasts about a flash car then I ask the question why do they need a 'flash' car? If it's because they worked hard for it then I'm glad for them and can share in their happiness. If it's just to boast then I have pity on them because deep down they're really only seeking attention and acceptance from others.

tumbletumble Wed 24-Jul-13 16:08:43

I am a very happy content person and I think it may be genetic - my Dad is the most optimistic, sunny natured person I've ever met smile

ShesAStar Wed 24-Jul-13 16:08:57

I think if you've had your fair share of bad luck (numerous deaths in the family and a brain tumour) you appreciate what you have and love life in a way you can't before you come close to losing it.
I watch my friends and DSILs and feel frustrated because they appear to miss all the good stuff while they worry about all the meaningless crap. The only problem is I always plan for the short term now, I never dare plan long term because I feel I'm tempting fate!

toobreathless Wed 24-Jul-13 16:10:32

I am generally pretty content & people comment on it occasionally.

I think it is personality mixed with a large dollop of luck.

I am lucky to be in good health as is my family, happy marriage, two children conceived easily, good job & no money worries.

I'm just fortunate. I think being a 'homebod' helps, I have no burning desire to climb mountains or set Olympic records, earn lots of money. I'm happiest at home with the kids.

TylerHopkins Wed 24-Jul-13 16:11:57

Sometimes a surge of happiness comes over me and for that moment there and then I feel so happy with who I am and what I have. I know it's just a snapshot of the here and now because minutes later I can be brought back down to earth when a bill lands on the doorstep and a friend rings with bad news. Life changes constantly.

This thread is very inspirational smile

toobreathless Wed 24-Jul-13 16:12:08

I am generally pretty content & people comment on it occasionally.

I think it is personality mixed with a large dollop of luck.

I am lucky to be in good health as is my family, happy marriage, two children conceived easily, good job & no money worries.

I'm just fortunate. I think being a 'homebod' helps, I have no burning desire to climb mountains or set Olympic records, earn lots of money. I'm happiest at home with the kids.

toobreathless Wed 24-Jul-13 16:13:10

Oops...so content & posted twice!

YouTheCat Wed 24-Jul-13 16:15:02

Happiness has come with age, experience and no longer putting up with emotional leeches and petty bullshit.

And never take AIBU too seriously... that way madness lies. grin

Happiestinwellybobs Wed 24-Jul-13 16:17:21

I only said to DH the other week that I finally feel content with my life. I am 36. I don't live in a massive house or have wow holidays, and whilst do drive a nice car, could live without it.

If I look back say 6 years ago, we had loads more money, stayed in hotels at the drop of a hat and went on some VERY wow holidays. I wasn't content.

But I now have DD (after many years of trying) and it has changed my whole outlook on life. I work part time which means I'm not rushing around all the time. I am at my happiest pottering in the garden, feeding the ducks. Having a great family, friends and neighbours around me helps. I am a naturally anxious person, having suffered with depression and panic attacks frequently. Whilst I still have moments of anxiety it is nothing compared to what it was.

I honestly put it all down to adopting DD. My outlook on life has changed dramatically.

BastardDog Wed 24-Jul-13 16:18:07

I don't suffer with envy, but I do find it hard to live in the moment. There always seems to be something just on the horizon that I feel I will be happier when it happens. For instance at the moment it's the kids going back to school. I have an attitude of getting through the next seven weeks and then I think I'll be happier rather than just enjoying the now as best as I can. That's just an example, but while I'm waiting for the next 'thing / event / change of circumstances' my life is going by. I'm in a perpetual state of waiting and that can create unnecessary anxiety.

On the positive side though now I'm a bit older I do try to notice the little things every day that make me happy, watching a bird, noticing the clouds, noticing a small child having fun or an old couple holding hands for example.

The most serene and content person I have ever met was a nun who I met in a work capacity a few dozen times. She'd had happy and sad times in her life like the rest of us, but her faith gave her an unshakeable rock solid base that underpinned everything.

I also worry far too much about what other people think which makes me try and be brilliant at what ever I do. Obviously I fail. I'd love to care less about what others think of me.

waterlego Wed 24-Jul-13 16:18:57

Like a previous poster, I think a lot of it is tied in with self-esteem. I used to feel discontented and on edge a lot of the time and always focused on what other people were doing with their lives and if they were 'better' than me. Whether they looked better; were better mothers than me; were cleverer, slimmer, more ambitious, had a healthier diet...I could get fixated on almost any aspect of others and what made them 'better'.

My focus has begun to shift in the last few years, I'm not really sure how or why but suspect that it's partly aging that has helped.

And I have had another huge shift recently. My not-elderly, healthy and active parents have both become terminally ill. Mum diagnosed in January; Dad 4 weeks ago. My perspective on everything has changed. Getting through each day alive, supporting my parents and doing the best for my children are suddenly the most important things. The only important things. Any opportunities to smile/laugh/hug someone...all are treasured; because I realise how important they are now that I really know how precious and fragile life is.

SirChenjin Wed 24-Jul-13 16:19:38

I'm not at all bothered about material possessions - a slightly bigger house would be nice for our growing brood and enough money so that we could do more in the way of travelling and having adventures, but other than that I really don't care. However, I don't feel content because I haven't done what I wanted to do with my life. I fell into the course I did at university, have a good job as a result which doesn't really fulfill me, don't live in the kind of place I envisaged bringing a family up in, and haven't travelled much. Sadly, life just kind of took over and before I knew it we had a big mortgage and the kids were settled in school.

DH is very content, but sometimes I feel so frustrated I could scream. I cling to the hope that one day, when the kids have finished with the exam stage, we can do the things I wanted to do - and hopefully then I'll feel content.

TylerHopkins Wed 24-Jul-13 16:21:25

Oh waterlego I'm so sorry about your parents sad

We're all here to offer you support at any time.

raisah Wed 24-Jul-13 16:26:14

I have learnt to be content with my lot in life but it hasn't been easy. However I am much happier now then I was 10 years ago. I think as you mature & grow older certain things don't hold your attention in the same way as it used to. I have had my ups & downs with deaths, redundancy and so on but I have accepted (reluctantly!) that I can't change people or events bur I can alter the way I respond to them. Sometimes you have to look at a problem upside down to find the answer.

Failing that Mark Harmon on NCIS & a box of chocs is all I need really!

Dilidali Wed 24-Jul-13 16:29:22

Ever heard of no8 fencing wire mentality? This is my secret, I live by it. All the pieces of all the puzzles fell into one place in one fell swoop.
It's an inexpensive piece of metal that fixes everything. I am me, there is no other prop, the answer to any problem lays on me, my trial and error and my stuborness. There is no 'no can do', nobody but me can tell me where my limits are.

Look it up smile

NotAnotherPackedLunch Wed 24-Jul-13 16:29:38

I'm a lot more content now I've made the conscious decision to not watch adverts and avoid reading glossy 'aspirational' magazines.
Good marketing is designed to make you discontent with what you have so that you'll upgrade to whatever product is being promoted. Cutting it out of our lives has been very easy and very positive.

grovel Wed 24-Jul-13 16:30:46

In a word - wine.

HTH

grovel Wed 24-Jul-13 16:31:32

And good quality coffee, of course.

waterlego Wed 24-Jul-13 16:33:11

Notanotherpackedlunch I was going to say something similar re advertisments and glossy mags but forgot. I don't watch much telly either so most celeb/media type stuff passes me by. Avoiding all that shite really helps.

Thank you Tyler, that's really kind.

mrscog Wed 24-Jul-13 16:34:15

YY to notanotherpackedlunch I gave up magazines 2-3 years ago to save money (realise that I was probably spending £100 per year on adverts!). I think it's really improved my happiness.

Owllady Wed 24-Jul-13 16:36:20

it's drinking a bottle of cold cava after a chinese takeaway

grovel Wed 24-Jul-13 16:37:18

Good thinking, Owllady.

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