Guest blogger Lorie Sheffer: Contentment

Church sign welcoming tough questions


(photo jeff noel: Church sign in Fort Collins, Colorado taken three days ago during a run)

I think real, lasting happiness can only be found through gratitude. I suppose we can achieve happiness without being grateful, but I don’t think we can sustain it.

Isn’t the secret of true contentment to convince ourselves that our life is better than it actually is? Or at least that it’s not as bad as it actually is? Is that really such a bad thing, convincing ourselves that we’re happy or content or at least OK? I guess in today’s world that is considered settling for less than we can achieve and that is frowned upon. We’re always supposed to want more, aim higher, dream big not be satisfied with the way things are.

Happiness is about adapting. I’ve learned to do that over the years.

I could look through everyone’s facebook posts about their trips and their nights out and their new this and their new that. I no longer have any of that, so I could make myself feel really bad about my life by comparison. OR … I can enjoy their photos and stories and be GENUINELY happy for them and grateful they shared. I can happily post photos of the beautiful things I see at the park less than a block from my house, or the butterfly chrysalis on my deck, or the jars of jam I just canned, or my garden. That’s my choice; be miserable or adapt to lifestyle changes and be reasonably happy.

“Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, it’s about how to dance in the rain.”  I guess I just got really sick of waiting for the sun to come out, so I started dancing. I have no control over the sun, and I’d be a fool to think that I did. I learned to live with what I have and to be grateful. At some point, you realize that anything and everything can be taken from you. If those are the things that you are dependent upon for your happiness, you’re living on thin, thin ice. Happiness has got to come from inside or it’s not sustainable, and the only way is through gratitude.

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By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.