Contentment v. Happiness

I used to think I was a homebody, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized I’m actually just an introvert. In other words, after awhile I’ve got to have some quiet time, alone at the house, to relax and recharge. However, being home too much–or inactive/uninvolved with something of meaning–actually really messes with my mojo.

I am at my most content when I am participating in regular activity that creates meaning for myself and/or others. I define contentment as being quiet in the soul, feeling that you are helping progress your soul and humanity at whatever level possible, and as a lack of feeling consistently anxious or antsy with life. It’s feeling productive, contributory, at peace.

Happiness is the sweet youth of contentment. It is for children. The young may loll away the days, worrying about nothing except chasing butterflies. It is innocence. While we should certainly not ignore out inner child and its need for play and butterfly chasing, we can’t live our entire adult life this way…our lives must be about something more, they must have purpose. When we become adults, our view must expand beyond our narrow experiences. We are not our brother’s keeper, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t meant to help him.

Contentment comes when I am helping others. I love it when my friends ask me for something, because I get to be with people I love and provide a service. I enjoy National Public Land’s Day. I like getting up early to do something that is social, will create a memory, and helps the environment. Too long without purposeful activity, and I become, well, cranky.

I think the discussion currently centered around creating happiness needs to shift toward creating meaning. I’m guessing that only when we step outside of this elusive idea of happiness will we find the real meaning of life.

What purpose are you currently creating in your life? What are you doing to step outside of yourself?


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