Tuesday, June 5, 2018
I am not content...
Content can be a very happy emotion for many people. It brings to mind images of coziness, of satisfaction, of having enough. But, for me, underneath that idyllic surface are other emotions: settling, complacency, giving up.
Content is a perfectly fine word, and I am sure it works for many people, but I find it a little defeatist. When I think "I am content with..." it makes me feel as if something is JUST okay. It's something I can live with. Content doesn't give me the same feelings of fulfillment as other words: satisfied, happy, gratified, or my personal favorite, hygge.
The word content shares a root with contain, and contents also refer to the things inside something else. There is this implication of restraint, of being kept in your place. People who are content don't stretch, they don't reach, they stay where they are.
This isn't a place I want to be! I may be happy where I am at, and there are many areas of my life that I am quite pleased with....but I still want more. I don't want to stagnate, to be stuck where I am at, no matter how pleasant the circumstances.
Not to get too political, but I see contentment as a reflection of our times. We are content with so many things that we don't strive for more and we don't fight when things go wrong...because we are content. We let more and more slide past us, because we have been content so long and it is so hard to get moving once you have stopped.
It's like the story of the frogs, and how you can put a frog in a pot of water, and it will stay in. Then, if you start raising the temperature, little by little, the frog adjusts, and still stays in the water. The frog will let itself be boiled, because it doesn't realize that things have changed. Contentment can be like that...we are so settled into our place, that when something starts to rub us wrong, we just ignore it. Eventually, the rub might knock you over, but by then fixing the issue will take so much more work than if you just fixed it to start with.
Contentment also reminds me of the comfort zone. It is the place that we know, the safe place, the comfortable place. But it is also a literal barrier that stops us from trying new things or expanding. If we stay in our comfort zone, we may be content but we will never soar.
I struggle with contentment. My life is good, and it is very easy for me to fall into a routine. It is so simple to let things continue, as they are, indefinitely. But it kills my soul! When things remain the same, I start to feel lethargic. I loose my drive, for everything. All I want to do is sit around, waste time and lounge around. And that, in turn, makes me depressed. I feel this emptiness inside, and it starts to build. I need change, I need variety, and I need to not be content.
Contentment might work for other people, in a good way! Content might mean something entirely different to you, and that is fine. But for me, contentment is a trap, and I will gnaw my foot off to escape it. I am not content, and I hope to never be! But I am happy....