Choose life. Life is wonderful.

Thursday, 22 September 2011


God's gifts put man's best dreams to shame. (Elizabeth Barret Browning)

Since I am new to blogging I am following a series of lessons. Lesson number two consists of publishing a list. I gave it some thought. What sort of list should I do? I thought of why I am writing this blog - largely to help me appreciate the good things in my life and share them. So I decided on Contentment

Anglican church in Brownsville
Of course, contentment for me includes my relationship with God but for the purposes of this list and my wider audience I will set that aside for now. 

I have had some difficulties presented to me over years and this is what I have learned. 

10 Steps to Contentment

1. Appreciate what you have.

Take an audit of the positive things in your life and concentrate on those. It's too easy to look at all the negatives and dwell on them. Focus on the good things.

2. Don't compare yourself to others. Just be yourself.

You can't tell how happy others are by looking at their possessions or activities. Just be you and accept that your life is not the same as other people's. Not better. Not worse. Just different.

3. Keep growing.

Contentment doesn't mean complacency. Set short term goals and long term goals. Keep learning.

Happiness, contentment, the health and growth of the soul, depend, as men have proved over and over again, upon some simple issue, some simple turning of the soul. (George A. Smith)

4. Accept that life won't be perfect.

There are always going to be ups and down in life. Good times and not so good times. Enjoy the peaks and attack the troughs in the best way that you can. Don't aim for a life of constant spectacular happiness. It doesn't exist for anyone.

5. Know your purpose.

It is easier to get out of bed each day if you know your purpose in life. Your purpose may change with your stage of life. This is easier for people with a religious faith, but your purpose may be as simple as being a support for a neighbour, or your children. It may be to knit for charities.  We all have our special place in the world. We all have our special purpose. Giving words of encouragement to your neighbour may seem very small to you, but it may make the world of difference to your neighbour.

6. Have a sense of humour.

Be able to laugh at yourself. Find humour where you can. It softens life.

Good humour is a tonic for the mind and the body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens and humbles burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment. (Grenville Kleiser)

7. Live in the present moment.

Don't yearn for yesterday. Don't live for tomorrow. Enjoy now for what it is. By all means appreciate and cherish your memories. And have your goals. Give yourself something to look forward to but take notice of the journey and enjoy it.

8. Have concern for those around you.

Care about people. Try to empathize with them so you understand where they are coming from. Accepting others and the differences in others leads to greater understanding and less frustration in our lives.

True contentment comes with empathy. (Tim Finn)

9. Look after yourself.

Look after your health and allow time for yourself to do the things you enjoy. There is no point running yourself ragged for others or feeling guilty if you allow time for yourself. You need to stay strong physically and emotionally to be there for others who may need you.

10. Live a balanced life.

Living a balanced life means paying attention to the different aspects of your life. These may include your job, your family, church, your hobbies, chores, fitness and health, friends. Don't let your attention to one part of your life totally outweigh the others. Of course we have priorities and there are times that one aspect may take on more urgency than another, but in general try to live a full and balanced life.

The first callistemon in my garden

Contentment takes work and you have to keep working at it.

Contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it,it must be cultivated. (C.H.Spurgeon)

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