On Being Content
On the surface, being content doesn’t sound that bad. But take a look at my experience with contentment and decide for yourself:
I stayed in a mediocre relationship in college because I was content- it seemed better than being alone, but I didn’t love him.
I stayed overweight because I was content- it seemed like it would be harder to change than to just ignore it.
My apartment was messy because I was content- I had more stuff than would fit in my room. But everyone has a lot of stuff, right?
I tolerated a lot in my life. I tolerated the things that weren’t that great but didn’t seem that bad. They didn’t change because I didn’t do anything about them. I just sat there and let it happen.
Sometimes, it has to get worse before it gets better.
My ex-boyfriend turned into a total jerk, and I finally broke up with him. Now I’m in the most amazing relationship of my life.
I gained more weight and hated how I felt. I’m making progress towards being healthy.
I got bedbugs and gave away (or threw out what was infested) over 50% of the things I owned. I have room in my apartment, and when I want to buy something, I actually have room for it!
Sometimes it sucks
The bed bug debacle alone was awful: 4+ weeks of my life, thousands of dollars, and everyone who had been around me or my stuff had to deal with it, too. But suddenly, having so much stuff was a huge obstacle instead of a minor inconvenience. The easiest thing before the bed bugs had been avoiding the situation, but the easiest thing after became getting rid of the excess!
For a deeper example, take the United States right now. Whatever your political views, it’s clear that we are going through a state of turmoil. But one benefit I’ve seen is that people are much more likely to speak out now than several years ago. Many of us feel that things have gotten so bad, we have no other choice but to speak out against hatred. I deeply wish that people would look more to understand than to preach or to argue- but that’s a story for another day. The point is, people are talking. And I believe that the situation will get better because of it.
I hear this all the time with my clients
They don’t tell their husband that they’re overworked until they are on the point of collapsing from exhaustion. They don’t tell their family to back off and let them make their own decisions until they have suppressed their anger for years. Tolerating can have a very real effect on your physical, emotional, and mental health.
What if you could recognize this before it gets worse?
Sometimes you don’t notice until it really does get bad. And in those situations, just recognize that you’re not going to be in that place for ever.
But many times, you can prevent this by taking a deep look at your life and noticing where you are just content and not happy. Look at your relationships, your finances, your career, and anything else that’s important to you.
What are you tolerating? What would have to happen for you to change it?