There's a word we don't hear all too often in our American society. But it's a word that can save us thousands of dollars, the benefit of our health, our relationships, and in many cases, our sanity.
What's the word?
Contentment. Yup, contentment. I know aMAZing, right? "Thanks, D.a. for that remarkable buildup for such a spectacular word."
But seriously....it's a great word.
Webster's defines contentment as, "the quality or state of being contented." Ummm... thanks Webster's... annnnnd contented is defined as, "feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation." So in essence, contentment is being happy with what we've got.
It sure seems like we live in a society overrun with marketing and media always telling us what we don't have. We don't have a new car. We don't have the latest TV or entertainment center. We don't have this month's newest mobile device. And we never will, because there is no end to it all. There is never going to be.
So just for a couple of seconds let's think about what ya got. Let's start with the basics. Do you have water? Do you have heat? Do you have shelter, or someone you could go to in a worst case scenario? Do you have food (or just in case, know where a food bank is)? Do you have transportation?
Many check these items off without batting an eye. But then again, at times, there are many of us who have had to actually get down to these very basic needs. And in this economy we are beginning to think more and more about these presumptions.
So minus these elements, everything else is unneccessary. Yup I said it. It is UN-Neccessary. You don't actually need it to survive. You don't NEED a new car to survive, but transportation is necessary, you don't Need a brand new set of clothes, but clothing is important (go to Value Village). You don't NEED to eat out, especially since eating in is typically healthier.
But let's take things one step further. It really doesn't matter what you have does it? Being content means being happy with what you have, regardless of what the list is. Happiness is a state of mind. It's a decision: a choice. Our happiness is a conclusion we make. We conclude to be happy with what we have, or we conclude not to.
In the end, contentment with what we have is far less costly than the pursuit of what others tell us we should have. And as Bertrand Russell put it, "The most valuable things in life are not measured in monetary terms. The really important things are not houses and lands, stocks and bonds, automobiles and real estate, but friendships, trust, confidence, empathy, mercy, love and faith."