Contentment: “What’s is happening outside of me doesn’t determine what is happening inside of me.”
I came across an unusual thought about contentment this week and it’s one of those things that you knowshouldbe true in your life, but isn’t yet.
In preparing for a funny and topically, um, interesting series at Venue called Chaperone I felt the need to try and peel back the layers of why some relationships work and some fail. And I came across this new look at contentment.
Gosh, if what’s happening on the outside of us shouldn’t determine what is happening inside, we’re miles away from contentment in our relationships because we’re looking at the relationship to bring the contentment!
Now to be fair I’m not saying that outside circumstances don’t affect us, but letting that determine our health and worth and joy on the inside is where the real problem might be…
Question: Did you enter your current relationships looking for the other person to complete you? I did. How about entering it so you wouldn’t be discontent in your loneliness/ need/ unhappiness? Me too. And maybe we all missed something in our approach to contentment itself?
I think my previous view of contentment would be more along the lines of “I’ll be able to relax when the following things happen: I don’t have conflict in my marriage anymore, I don’t have conflict with my children, I don’t have conflict at work, I don’t have conflict in anything else, and there’s world peace.”
Other than being the stock answer to the cruel Miss America Q & A, it’s really only attainable if:
A. You don’t live near humans.
B. You don’t do actually DO anything meaningful with your life.
If contentment is the stars aligning I’ve pre-decided I can’t be happy until they do and.. basically my unhappiness is YOUR fault! Get your act together so I can be happy or I’m moving to the mountains with a bunch of dogs who HAVE to love me the way I am.
Sometimes the carrot is so far ahead of us we don’t realize it was never a carrot in the first place. This is very deep because I secretly hate carrots. I also don’t like being told to eat carrots if anyone has any pull with Erin and wants to help me out here?
So I’m stuck in this weird assumption that purpose in my life can be found inside my own life, which is quite the opposite, and this other assumption that contentment has more to do with you than me.
No matter how hard I personally try to have a baby, it ain’t happening, so why don’t I just go back and unlearn what I thought I knew, that doesn’t actually work?
I’ve actually been dating contentment.
Marrying it is a different thing altogether. Nobody dating has to pledge their life in sickness or in health, for richer or poorer. If you’re all gross and contagious and got no money I’d be more content to hang out with someone else Friday night. No offence, but nobody is attractive with stuff running out of their nose. Nobody.
Dating is kind of a ridiculous situation anyways if you think about it. “Hi, I’m Joe and over the next few months you’ll see a magnificent version of me with no flaws whatsoever! No, I’d be happy to watch a movie where girls are crying through the whole thing! No, I totally write poetry! Dishes? LOVE doing the dishes. Holding babies is what I do best!”
Oh please. Dating is so optional! All we see is the good side of people and we still break up with them!
But dating contentment is the same sort of thing. I’ll be content when everyone (including myself) is on their best behaviour all the time!
Marrying contentment is a different animal. We actually have to commit to this idea that I can actually be OK on the inside when everything else is falling to pieces, and yet find that inside purpose outside of myself. It puts a responsibility on us that might just fit, and leaves the “having a baby” to someone who actually can.
So next conflict I’m going to be OK inside. No, I’m not ignoring you if you like conflict for the attention, and I do need you, but you’re the icing on the cake and not the cake itself so relax:)