Discontentment. What's the deal with it? Why is it so easy for us to fall into the trap of that darn "D" word? I would like to take a sledgehammer and exuberantly erase it from my vocabulary...or at least from my inward talk. Yet that sneaky little bugger seems to weasel its way back into my thoughts time and time again.
It is easy to focus on the things we wish were different. "If only..." and we have endless ends to the sentence. If only our kids were more obedient, our spouses more helpful, our jobs less stressful, our households more organized, our debt less all-consuming, and on and on it goes. It can be, if we let it, a never-ending cycling of the hamster wheel. I try and try and try to make this thing or that thing better and oftentimes I just end up more frustrated and more discontent.
I was struck by the words of Gretchen Rubin, in her book The Happiness Project, "I had everything I could possibly want, yet I was failing to appreciate it. Bogged down in petty complaints and passing crisis, weary of struggling with my own nature, I too often failed to comprehend the splendor of what I had. I didn't want to keep taking these days for granted." That is me! Letting the "If only's" blur my vision so I can't enjoy the real moments of my real life! There are not enough moments to burn so many with pettiness and wistful thoughts.
Lately, I have been making it a point to make a conscious effort to live a life of contentment. This does not mean my circumstances are always glowing and it certainly doesn't mean that I don't have moments where I lift my eyes to the ceiling and wonder, "What is NEXT!?" What it does mean is that I am making a point to enjoy the real life moments. My baby girl's look of joy as she begins to master rolling over, the shining microwave that my husband cleaned last weekend (I didn't know it could get that clean honestly), the quiet moments of reflection I get between the chaos of the day. It also means that I am trying to laugh more. I have always considered myself a good-humored person, but discontentment takes the funny right out of a situation! You know what I'm talking about too--it is so much about our perspective. We can choose to see the humor and good-naturedly tease one another about situations, differences, and the like. Or we can get frustrated and fed-up with our kids, spouses, and lives because it doesn't match up to our perceived notion of how things should be.
So Discontentment, I have some words for you. You sir, are not welcome in my heart, mind, mouth or life. I am through with you. And though I am sure you will come knocking at my door in desperation like a past lover who can't move on, I am MOVING ON! Because mister, you don't hold a candle to my real life. It is much better than you, Discontentment, lead me to believe. And even on the days that seem like they will never end, I know that without you clouding my judgment I can find things to appreciate. And I plan to do just that.