Happiness VS Contentment
I was asked recently; When were you most happy?
My instant reaction was to answer "When I was living in Ibiza with 8 amazing friends, working 4 hours a day (with said beautiful housemates!) generous disposable income, beach all day and party all night"....YES I think this would probably be the happiest, easiest time of my life!!! At this time my responsibilities were few and life was a dream.......
So why am I not still doing this??
Well life moves on and times and people change, now I have found contentment in other things, don't get me wrong; I'm pretty sure my days as a beach bum are not over and I will indulge in this lifestyle from time to time but this question brought the topic of Happiness Vs Contentment to mind....
Huge high's of happiness are great but what goes up must come down and I know many friends who suffer from post season/holiday/summer blues....We love the good times but when we leave that bubble it's hard to go back to 'normal life'... Maybe we can flip the way we look at these experiences, and instead of mourning our high times, reflect on how lucky we have been to have them in the first place...
Maybe you can relate to this on another level, when a close relationship become distant, when you have a change in location or job...looking back to simpler, easier, happier times.....and of course life will always throw some of the unexpected and often challenging situations which you did NOT ask for and don't wish to deal with.... Perhaps we can be grateful for those periods of happiness and find acceptance and contentment in where we are today.
Are we striving for happiness or contentment, and what is the difference anyway???
Happiness is usually momentary; when an event, person or particular situation bring feelings of joy, pleasure or happy frame of mind.
Contentment is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction which may be drawn from being at ease in your own situation, body and mind. Having accepted your situation, this is a more mild and long term form of happiness.
In Yoga we practice Santosha*; Contentment/Satisfaction Santosha means keeping a positive attitude in difficult times. We can choose to dwell in dark, difficult times, or we can use these challenges as opportunities to transform and discover long lasting joy. The more we choose contentment, the more we grow.
*(Santosha is the second Niyama of Patanjali's 8 limbs of Yoga).
So I choose to be content... right now life might not be endless sunsets and parties but I found a career path that ignites passion inside of me, I'm thirsty to learn more and have huge satisfaction when I see people experiencing the benefits of Yoga and Pilates, or when someone leaves the massage room feeling restored.
I have a wonderful boyfriend, live nearer to friends and family I spent so much time away from...I truly appreciate time spent with my people, grateful for all those special souls I have in my life, near and far, when you are content with what you have there is guaranteed to be happiness along the road too!!!