People are always in search of that “something”. We call it in various ways: happiness, essence of life, purpose and whatsoever. While washing my clothes early this morning, I had a quiet time for myself (this sounds weird, right?). Yeah, phenomenological moments while washing my clothes.
Lately, I’ve been feeling good, happy, motivated and I asked myself, “Why?”. It sometimes occured to be disturbing because considering my current status in life, I have nothing compared to those who should be feeling the way I do. I then think of the exact word that can describe this positive feeling and I arrived choosing: “Contentment”.
I then search for a theory that tackles contentment and I found this:
Fredrickson’s (1998) Broaded-and-building theory of Positive Emotions states that “certain discrete positive emotions—including joy, interest, contentment, pride, and love—although phenomenologically distinct, all share the ability to broaden people’s momentary thought-action repertoires and build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources.” (para. 10)
here’s the link:
I don’t totally understand the theory, I just looked for the definition which I can use as the foundation of my thoughts (just to make it credible. haha). Now, I’ll focus on my thoughts before it all slip away.
We always tell someone to look for “something” that will make you happy and I think this should’nt be the case. Happiness is so broad that it tends to generalize all positive emotions we can feel. That is, when we feel positive feelings, whether it is love, motivation, fulfillment, we always say, “I am happy”. However, I think this vague understanding that we have about positive feelings inhibits us from fully understanding ourselves. With this, I conclude that we should be specific in explaining our feelings. In that way, we can think of the “how” to modify and use this understanding of ourselves to fully live our lives.
Contentment is the key to happiness. When we speak of that “something” that makes us happy, motivated, and fulfilled in life, we are talking about contentment. We all have different levels of contentment that is why we all have different levels of achievements. While a person having a stable financial status can achieve contentment, a person having 10pesos for the day can also be contented. Thus, it is essential that we don’t base our level of contentment to our level of achievements in life. Contentment is subjective and it is important considering it that way.
Be precautious when conceptualizing our own contentment. I assert that it is essential not to solely base on the subjectivity of contentment. When we start thinking that we have achieve contentment, it doesnt mean that we stop striving for something else.
Contentment should also be considered as progressive. That is, when we have achieved our previously set level of contentment, there started the new level of contentment we will be pursuing to achieve.
The significance of knowing our own level of contentment is that it gives us positive emotions in our daily living. Each of us may be contented of what we have, what we get ourselves into, what we have achieve in life and along with it is the motivation to live life. This motivation we are feeling is the signal that we have achieve our previously set level of contentment. It also constitute the beginning of the new level of contentment we will be pursuing.
Thus, the key to living a happy life is achieving contentment. However, if you want to achieve a more stable financial status, a higher position at work, a prettier girlfriend (I can’t assure this one), we should learn to be adopting “Progressive Contentment”. Progressive Contentment can help us stay happy and in the same time, motivated to our everyday dealings. So when we speak of that “something” we search in life, we mean “Progressive Contentment”.
The greatest gift you can give someone is the space to be his or herself, without the threat of you leaving.