A Word about Contentment
A Word about Contentment
Many years ago, a man was visiting the psychiatric ward of a large state hospital. He came upon a patient who appeared to be in great distress. The man was sitting on the edge of his bed. His head was in his hands. He was moaning and stamping his feet, repeating over and over again, “Oh Lucy! Lucy! Oh Lucy! Lucy! Lucy!”
The ward nurse explained to the visitor that 20 years ago, the disconsolate patient had fallen in love with a young woman named Lucy. Lucy had jilted him for another, and he had never gotten over it.
As the visitor moved on through the ward, he came upon another man who was sitting on the edge of his bed. His head was in his hands. He, too, was moaning, stamping his feet and repeating over and over again, “Oh, Lucy! Lucy! Oh, Lucy! Lucy! Lucy!” The visitor said to the nurse, “My, that Lucy must have been quite a woman.” The nurse replied, “You don’t understand. This is the man who got Lucy!”
Contentment is often a very elusive thing. Have you noticed? Sometimes, what we think we want may not be what is best for us. Other times, what we have, while good, might not bring us the satisfaction or pleasure we seek.
A Culture of Discontent
Let’s be honest. Much of our daily life is spent being told, via newspapers, radio, television, internet, billboards, etc. about things (goods and services) we do not have that surely would make our lives more rich, happy, meaningful and secure. Isn’t that one of the primary purposes of advertising–to sell us something we don’t have, by making us believe our lives will be better if we have it?
We see the “beautiful people” in the ads, and they seem to have it all. They appear to be genuinely happy, content, healthy, intelligent and having a wonderful time living their lives. In fact, they seem a lot happier than we feel much of the time.
Do you tend to compare yourself with other people–looks, jobs, incomes and more? Do these “people” seem to have so much more that you do–more “stuff” and happiness? As a result, do you feel inadequate, unacceptable and insecure?
It seems that some of our most common insecurities and anxieties center around not being:
• Good enough
• Smart enough
• Young enough
• Wealthy enough
• Good looking enough
• Thin enough
• Successful enough
• Strong enough or
• Likable enough
A prevailing theme is that I am not enough–of something!
(Feeling better? I hope you will read the next “word.” It is part two of this installment.)