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The Secret to Finding Contentment in Life

running away

photo by sara b. and No One

Planning on Running Away?

Do you feel like quitting your job? Do you want out of a relationship? Are you keen to move to a new neighborhood? Why? Are the people miserable? Is your boss too demanding? Is your partner annoying you? Is there too much work on your plate at work?

Before you jump ship, have you ever considered that the source of discontent might originate inside you? Think about this: how was your last job, your former partner, your previous living situation? Did you find discontent there too? If you think about it for a moment, can you spot any patterns?

“Now hold up. My boss is a raving lunatic slave driver. My girlfriend is too needy. And all my neighbors are neanderthals!” Hmm. You may be right. I had similar feelings once too. Let me share my story and revelations and perhaps they will shed light on a new perspective for your situation.

Why Am I So Dissatisfied with My Life?

I had never thought of the possibility that my discontent with situations had anything to do with me until one day when I was having a serious argument with my partner. I was convinced that I was 100% in the right. I suggested that we seek a mediator to help us with our disagreements. He said he was prepared to leave if that’s what I wanted and then he said, “Just know that if we separate, you take your baggage with you.” At the time I remember thinking two conflicting things at the same time.

The first thought was “Huh? Is he kidding me? He’s totally in the wrong here and he’s telling ME that I’ll be taking my baggage with me?!” The second thing I thought was “Hmm. Wow. Maybe he’s right.” And I immediately began to see things from a different perspective. We ended up working things out and I realized that my “baggage” in that case was a tendency to judge, a tendency I didn’t realize that I had.

Career Discontent

Another similar revelation came when I switched careers. In my old career in financial sales, I felt constantly frustrated by the amount of work there was to do and the short amount of time in which to complete it all. I thought my frustration was because of the company and the job that I had.

Fast forward to today. I am a full time mother and writer and guess what? I am always frustrated by the amouth of work there is to do and how little time I have in which to do it all. So, the problem is not my job or the amount of work, but rather how I handle it. I want to do amounts of work that are unrealistic for one person who only has 24 hours in a day. That’s part of who I am. So I work on prioritizing, being organized, efficient, but most importantly on planning my time with realistic time frames.

Do Your Neighbors Make You Cringe?

A last example comes from a good friend of mine. We used to live in the same neighborhood on a couple different occassions. In these neighborhoods, for the most part, I always found friendly people. My friend, however, somehow always ran into grumpy people, encountered conflicts, and wound up in fights. There was a time when I thought she had bad luck. But, I’ve come to realize that it is her outlook on people in general. She doesn’t like most people. I now believe that this is what creates her negative encounters.

How to Identify the Source of Your Discontent

So, before you walk away from your job, your partner, or your living situation, ask yourself:

  • Am I running away from the situation or something inside myself I don’t want to deal with?

  • Is there something in me that needs to change?

  • What could I change inside of me to make the situation better?

There are definitely times when a situation is not right for us and it’s a good decision to move on. But it is always good to analyze a situation from several different angles, to learn from it, and grow.

Wishing you the best with all your decisions and transitions!

Please Share!

What do you run away from? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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13 Responses to The Secret to Finding Contentment in Life

  1. claire January 4, 2008 at 6:38 pm #

    What a great post! I think everyone is running away from something even if they’re not prepared to admit it. Facing up to whatever it may be is the only way we can grow and become stronger and more content.

  2. decorative wall crosses January 4, 2008 at 8:17 pm #

    I need to stop running away from the fact that my life is a little boring. I need to branch out and discover life a little more.

  3. Lost Forum January 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    thank you for sharing the secret:) great blogging! i really enjoyed reading this article. Keep up the great work. Wishing you a lot of success and happiness in 2008.

  4. beth in Greensboro January 5, 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    Personally, I’d like to um… commit a bit of “V for Vendetta” style torment upon my call center….

  5. marta January 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    Everyone deserve for good and happy life. Why shoudnt we go for it? And the post is really great! Thanks for sharing:)

  6. Steph January 7, 2008 at 5:03 pm #

    Thanks, I needed that for today. My relationship with my husband is a challenge right now. We are dealing with three teenage boys and have different views on how to handle them on some issues. I want him to be a better father by spending time with them.I think they would behave better if he did. It is out of my hands. I can only be a better mom to the boys and live in the moment with them. Here’s to 2008 and being content.

  7. Kristin January 28, 2008 at 6:26 am #

    I think everyone need to stop and think about itself from time to time. Great post. Keep blogging.

  8. jeni January 15, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    contentment is my research for the month while working with my therapist. the word came up and I found your blog as every night I am researching what actually is contentment? I personally have never truly experienced it and I desperately do. I have married, divorced, started, changed and been let go from jobs. I am always frustrated, tired and looking for something better. Thanks for the blog and thanks for giving a personal insight into the quest for contentment. -jeni

  9. agentsully January 16, 2009 at 7:43 pm #

    @jeni – I have a great recommendation for you. Check out Awakening Joy course. It has a price around $425 for the whole year, but they won’t turn anyone away for financial reasons, so if that is a barrier you can name the price you can pay. It is such an amazing course!!

  10. sara September 11, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    thank you for using one of my pictures.

    • agentsully September 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

      @Sara – my pleasure! Thanks for allowing me! Your photos are awesome!

  11. wheatgrass July 21, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    Invaluable advice, I think!

  12. Emmanuel E. Yao\p November 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    There is only one way to find contentment in life and that is when God continuously reveal great things for us and we stop in His awesomeness. Would you like to find out? Seek Him God is the true treasure in life.
    God knows what’s wrong with us.

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