The Art of Contentment

Relationship Design, Simplicity

growingA majority of struggle in married life is in our head.
We wonder why we can’t find time to connect with loved ones because we’re caught up in our to do lists, or struggling with an inadequacy, or striving to create a life like we see other’s living in their Facebook feed.
This struggle is normal … as it is part of the process of becoming. It’s the path to creating a more solid, flexible self. Someone who knows who they are and is comfortable in their own skin.
A great step forward in this process is to learn the art of contentment.
Contentment is not easy – it’s something that must be developed and learned over time. It’s actually more like a lifelong process of developing.
The best formula for creating contentment –

  • Don’t compete
  • Don’t complain
  • Don’t compare

Let’s break this down even further.
Compete. What does competing do to a woman and how she views herself (and how her husband views her)? There are many things competing for your attention each day. For your time. For your energy.
But what (and who) do you compete against? Do you find yourself competing for affection from your husband? Or competing for acceptance from those around you?
By becoming aware of the areas you compete you’ll better see your areas for growth because you often compete out of some feeling of inadequacy or shortcoming. While there may be some truth to the feeling (you may in fact be a little overweight or growing older), it’s blown way out of proportion when you compete against something/somone else.
Address the things you control. Let go of everything else.
You can’t change the fact that years, and children, take a toll on your physical body. But you’re also a more mature, full grown woman when you’re in your 40s and beyond than you were in your 20s. You have much more to offer and give due to your growth and experience. And I’m going to make a bet that your husband doesn’t want a pseudo or fake version of you – he wants you.
After all, he’s likely been with you through life’s experiences thus far, keep enjoying the journey together.
Complain. Nagging, bugging, complaining, are all a downward spiral. Once it begins, it snowballs. To change this, what’s your perspective on things – are you a half full or half empty type of man?
Work to become a half-full type of man.
Several years ago a research project was done by a university. The purpose of the study was to develop operational definitions for pessimists and optimists for use in textbooks, academic papers, and classroom learning.
The researchers scoured the globe searching for the most pessimistic and optimistic people they could find. Their objective was to bring test subjects back to the lab for further study. After a year of looking the team finally narrowed their search down to two 8 year-old boys.
Back at the lab two observation rooms were put together. The first room was filled with every kind of toy imaginable. The second room was filled wall to wall with horse manure. The boys were each placed in a room and their behaviors would be observed from behind one way mirrors.
The first little boy stood skeptically in the doorway of the room full of toys not sure if he should enter. But with a little prodding from one of the researchers who said, “Go on in, they are all yours,” he finally walked over to the first toy. What happened next shocked and stunned the researchers. Instead of playing gleefully the little boy systematically opened every single package in the room and rejected each of the toys in turn. The researchers heard him whining: “These aren’t like my toys at home.” “These toys will never work.” “Where are the video games?” “It’s hot in here.” “I don’t have any friends to play with.” The complaining went on and on until soon, exhausted from his own negativity, he sat down in the middle of the room and angrily shouted, “I’m bored and I want to go home!”
The researchers had been so mesmerized by this display of pessimism and negativity that they had almost forgotten about the second little boy who had been placed in the room full of manure. They quickly shifted their attention to the second room and peering through the observation window, were stopped in their tracks. They had expected to see the little boy sitting on the pile sad and crying. But instead, he was standing on top of the pile, wildly shoveling horse manure. To the amazement of the entire research team, he was animated, excited, alive, and happy. He kept digging and digging and shouting with glee. He was covered with manure from head to toe and he was ecstatic.
Cautiously, one of the scientists opened the door to the room and tried to get the boy’s attention. Finally, the boy stopped what he was doing, turned around, and faced the scientist. Looking with amazement at the manure covered child, the researcher asked, “Son, what in the world are you doing?” With that question, a huge grin crossed the boy’s face and with the same enthusiasm he had given to digging, he replied, “Sir, with all this manure, I just know there’s a pony in here somewhere and I’m going to find him!”
With that he turned around and continued digging.
This is an extreme example but it points out our tendencies at times.
How do you view the things currently in your life? At work? What about in your marriage? Sex life?
When there’s something you don’t like happening I’m not saying you don’t address the things that need addressing, just don’t complain about it.
Think of complaining as a rocking chair. It feels good and it may even feel like you’re doing something, but in the end you wind up no where.
A change in your perspective and attitude will help you feel more attractive – and, when this happens, you become more attractive.
Compare. In our society people (particularly women) are often objectified. Meaning there’s a certain look or feel that we should aspire towards. This is completely based on comparisons. And comparisons give way to competing against others and their perceptions.
Truth is, there is only one you!
So be you in everything you do.
Creating a life of contentment, gratification and confidence is the best way possible to discover your passion and share it with the world.
It’s the best way possible to create a great marriage, and even a great sex life.