In our post-modern world, the search for ‘contentment’ has become obsolete in the quest for more. Though the promise of power and money has always been part of the human condition, the Industrial Revolution introduced us all to the lure of owning more and the opportunity to objectively measure ourselves against our neighbour.
Have the promises of money been realised?
Hundreds of years ago Socrates stated that “contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty”– I think he is right.
Contentment is a natural wealth; the condition of being satisfied not only with what we have but with who we are. On the other hand, the pursuit of luxury and things makes us paupers often dominated by our own needs and shortcomings.
Maybe the one phrase ‘not enough’ describes how we feel when contentment is a distant hope:
not pretty enough
not smart enough
not rich enough
not liked enough
not wanted enough
Contentment says ‘I am okay, I am enough’.
Where does this leave us?
Well probably with a decision to make, which kind of life do we want to live? In terms of decisions, we all make this decision daily yet more rarely make it intentionally, with deliberation. But today we can. We can say ‘I am enough and I have enough’ – everything else I’m pursuing is not about me. Now I suggest that is contentment!