Post Updated on December 27, 2019
I spent much of my college life comparing myself to others. I wished I had more clothes, more friends, and more money. I wanted to be more outgoing, prettier, smarter, and thinner. I was trying to change myself to be more like the people who I thought were better than me. We’ve all been there, and it’s hard not to let these sort of thoughts creep into our heads.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I became more content with what I already had in life. Maybe it was part of the growing up process or maybe got tired of wishing I had more. Either way, I started to feel at peace with what I already owned, who I was, and the situations I couldn’t change.
I no longer wanted to waste my mental and physical energy trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was tired of worrying whether people would like me more if I had cuter clothes or a *bigger* personality.
Instead, I tried to be more accepting of myself and others.
I opened my eyes to the things I was taking for granted. I challenged myself to be patient and compassionate, even if I was being judgmental or ungrateful.
When we constantly wish that things were different, we miss out on the little joys right in front of our eyes. I realized that if I was always hoping and wishing for more, I’d be wasting most of my life away.
So how did I become content with what I already have? With awareness, acceptance, and patience. Here’s how you can cultivate these three things in your life to feel more content with what you already have:
How to be content with what is
In order to be content with what you already have, you need to become aware of what you already have. Most of us are so focused on the future that we rarely stop to appreciate what’s right in front of our eyes. Instead, be willing to open your mind to the good things that are already happening in your life.
One way to create more awareness is to list three things you’re grateful for every day. My favorite way to do this is with The Five-Minute Journal as it prompts you to write what you’re grateful for every single day. If gratitude lists aren’t your thing, you could write a list of things that bring you joy or simply things you care about (people, places, causes, etc). The 52 Lists for Happiness by Moorea Seal is a great journaling tool to get you thinking about what brings you joy.
Of course there are moments when you’ll compare yourself to others or wish that you had something more in life. Remember that these moments will pass and you won’t feel this way forever. If anything, mindfulness teaches you that none of your thoughts, feelings or beliefs have to be permanent.
Accept What You Can’t Change
Once you’ve become more aware of what you already have (it takes regular practice), you have to cultivate greater acceptance – of yourself, situations, and others. Acceptance is the willingness to see things as they are in the present, not clouded by judgment and bias.
Think you need to be better at something or feel that you should be more like so-and-so? Ask yourself if these thoughts are coming from a place of self-compassion. If they’re fueled by jealousy or comparison, take a step back and ask yourself what is most important for you right now: accepting yourself as you are or trying to make yourself into someone completely different.
This doesn’t mean that you should passively accept everything as it is. Obviously there is always room for improvement (especially in our world today), but acceptance means not forcing things to be a particular way. Instead, stay open to the idea that there is more than one way to do something (and that means not living your life the same way as everybody else).
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Patience is about letting things unfold in their own time. If you allow yourself grace, compassion, and patience, you will see that you already have everything you need to be content with your life. Sometimes we rush into things or make impulsive decisions because we’re afraid of missing out.
Patience will help you make the right decision every time.
Take the pressure off yourself by giving yourself some breathing room. Step away from seeking answers and let them come. Sometimes you have to trust the process and believe that you’ll get where you need to be (even if you don’t know how). Start embracing the moment and be open to wherever it takes you.
Related Post: How To Be Patient As An Impatient Person
Which three things are you grateful for today?
Being content with what you have isn’t exactly easy, but it is possible. If you find yourself wishing life was different, remember that awareness, acceptance, and patience are the keys to living with contentment.