Happiness And Contentment
Weeks ago, when i sat on my desk to work on some creative things, randomly I got these questions come in my mind — What makes people dissatisfied with life? Why do you think even the rich are never satisfied with what they have? Read the story to find out how futile it is to change one’s outward circumstances to make oneself happy.
My parents worked hard for every penny they earned. I was taught at an early age that money cannot buy happiness. As much as my parents tried to teach me these values, I had to learn through my own experience that happiness comes from within and cannot be measured by material possessions.
As a child, my attention was often diverted by the sparkle of the gold and diamonds worn by people around me. When my eyes began to wander, I noticed men dressed immaculately, accompanied by women in their designer dresses with matching handbags and shoes.
My family, on the other hand, was the opposite of glamorous. Our hand-me-down clothes had been washed so many times that the colours had become dull and lifeless and material frayed around the seams. Although our clothes revealed the money struggles of our large family, our faces were always washed, our hair neatly combed. I often fantasised about the glamorous lives led by those driving their brand new cars, wishing I were more like them.
I continued these fantasies when I was an adolescent. Since mine was a private school, most of the children came from wealthy families. As a result, I constantly felt inferior to the rest of my families. As a result, I constantly felt inferior to the rest of my classmates. Although I could hide my lack of wealth at school by wearing our mandated school uniforms, my poverty was embarrassing apparent outside school when my classmates wore designer jeans, and I had no choice but to wear my sister’s outgrown jeans. Once, because I could not afford a birthday gift, I gave one of my own used CDs to a friend in school. She she opened the gift, her face twisted into a strange look as if she did not know whether to laugh or say thank you. It was times like these, when the other kids laughed at me and talked behind my back, that convinced me that if I only had the new clothes, a nice house and other such material possessions, then maybe I would have a chance to fit in.
Then I would be happy.
When I got my first job, I could afford those “things” that were going to make me happy. Soon I was working two jobs in order to fulfil my needs. I began to purchase the clothes, the jewellery and the perfume. Each purchase was a sign of hope. Each time I thought, This is it, this is really going to make me happy. Within a few days, sometimes as little as a few hours, that feeling of purchase something even better. Each time I thought it was going to be different, but it never was.
Unfortunately, it took many of these disappointing and painful experiences, not to mention the amount of money spent, for me to realise that what I admired in other people was not about their clothes, their hairstyles or the car they drove. It was their self confidence. I admired the way they carried themselves, their ability to take on new challenges and the way they looked people in the eye during conversations instead of staring down at their toes as I often found myself doing. I began to notice that it was the qualities that they possessed that I was lacking. I knew then that I would never be a complete person until I started to do some work on the inside.
There was no lightning bolt or voice from God that brought me to this realisation.
I had to go all the way down the other road in life to realise that I was headed in the wrong direction. As a result, I now possess those qualities that I had always admired in other people. Going are the days of remedying my problems with new clothes and makeup. I confess I still get caught up in the excitement of shopping sprees, but there’s a difference today; I know each time I out on a new outfit and look in the mirror, the same person will be underneath it all. I now carry myself with an air of confidence, and contentment and I can look people in the eye for I have no reason to look down.
I do not speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”