Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about CON-tent (the noun meaning all that is contained in something*) versus contentment (the adjective which describes the feeling of being happy with what one has*) and how the two relate to each other. It’s practically impossible to have such a discussion without acknowledging that while the former may have, at one time, referred only to the actual physical stuff of our lives, it now also encompasses the barrage of information that most of us consume on a daily basis.
All of this CON-tent—the media and opinions and social media posts, as well as our belongings: our furniture and electronics and keepsakes—is meant to make us feel more connected and make our lives easier and more complete. But anymore, it seems the opposite is true. That the more time we spend absorbing the ins and outs of other people’s filtered online lives and the more we clutter our homes with all the modern conveniences available to us, the less satisfied we actually become.
Regardless of how much we acquire or achieve or experience, there seems to remain an underlying desire for more, a persistent fear that we are or will be missing out on something if we don’t keep on or keep up, and a certainty that our happiness will rise along with the number of likes our latest Instagram pic reaps.
I fall into these traps as much as the next person, and although there are numerous improvements and worthwhile attributes associated with CON-tent, I sometimes find myself getting caught up in the negative aspects. When that happens, when I start to feel overstimulated and underwhelmed and discontented, I know it’s time to take stock of the CON-tent in my life. The physical crap, as well as the emotional that accumulates over time, creating chaos in my space and spirit and obstructing my pathway to joy.
Because the thing is, our CON-tent and our contentment are directly linked. The CON-tent that we allow to enter into our minds and hearts and homes influences our level of contentment. The good news is we’re in charge of both. So if you find your energy dragging, your mood sagging, and your contentment flagging, it may be time to re-evaluate your CON-tent. If meaning, purpose, and fulfilment is what you seek, then fill your days with meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling people and possessions and practices. The CON-tent of your life feeds your contentment, choose wisely.
*Both definitions are from Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary, 2nd College Edition