Pursuing Happiness

To be content is to be happy with your situation. If I am not content, should I learn to be content with what I have or should I allow discontent to fuel a pursuit of a life that provides contentment? Like everything else, there is a positive and negative side to both arguments. I don’t think the answer to this question means choosing one side over the other. There is merit to being disciplined and sober, learning to be content with the surroundings you may not be completely happy with. But it is important to be able to pursue happiness. There is even a measure of contentment found in this pursuit. I believe it’s all about who you are.

There are those who are content with their lives and it can be to their praise or it can be to their discredit. An example of dishonourable contentment would be if a person is settling for second best, content merely because they do not believe they have the ability to change their circumstances. Such lack of hope is what leads to the deadliest forms of despair. Honourable contentment would be like one who is truly happy with their life, making the most of every opportunity, not angrily comparing their situation with any others. These genuinely consider themselves the most fortunate people in the world. The key difference between good or negative contentment is our sense of empowerment.

Discontentment can be destructive and harmful, but it can also be what leads to a life of contentment. To be discontent is to see a void, to be lacking satisfaction. If the repair of this void is sought out in the wrong ways, it leads to that rift being made worse. Discontent can be so strong in people that they search out the quickest method of relief. Here we find addicts and junkies, those whose substance is found in abuse. Healthy discontent is found with a measure of contentment. We must be willing to engage in the pursuit with perseverance. Understanding that we are looking for excellence and not perfection helps to calm the demands of an overactive soul. It is good to be unsatisfied with current circumstances, as long as it empowers you to a life of contentment.

There is no right or wrong here. What makes you happy? Is it the pursuit, the stillness, or maybe a little bit of both. Jesus often said not to be anxious about our life, but he also demonstrated a very involved lifestyle. It seems to me that whatever we do, we give it our all and allow time and trial to mould us into people who are content in storms and in sun.

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