by Leo Babauta
Contentment is a super power. If you can learn the skills of contentment, your life will be better in so many ways:
- You’ll enjoy life more.
- Your relationships will be stronger.
- You’ll be better at meeting people.
- You’ll be healthier, and good at forming healthy habits.
- You’ll like and trust yourself more.
- You’ll be jealous less.
- You’ll be less angry and more at peace.
- You’ll be happier with your body.
- You’ll be happier no matter what you’re doing or who you’re with.
Those are a lot of benefits, from one small bundle of skills. Putting some time in learning the skills of contentment is worth the effort and will pay off for the rest of your life.
But if learning contentment seems out of reach, overwhelming . realize that you can be happy right now, as you’re learning. Each step of the way, not just at the end.
How can you be happy right now, and each step along the way? By enjoying the process. By not looking so far down the road, but appreciating the joys of what you’re doing right now, and the good things about yourself in this moment. That’s something you can do right this moment, and it’s available at any moment.
The Skills of Contentment
So what are the skills of contentment? We’ve gone over them throughout this book, but to summarize, they are:
Notice when you’re making comparisons, when you have ideals and fantasies and expectations, when they are making you less content and causing pain.
Don’t beat yourself up about it, and accept that this process is happening. It’s part of life. Accept it, and face it, and find the appropriate, non-emotional response.
- Letting go of comparisons.
When you notice the comparisons, accept that you’ve made them, but realize that they are hurting you, and that they are completely unnecessary. You can let go of them, and be perfectly fine.
Compassion for yourself — this is how you let go of the ideals and comparisons. They are hurting you, making you less happy, and so it’s a compassionate act to let go of them. Let them be.
Instead of comparing and holding onto ideals, focus instead on appreciating what you have, who you’re with, what you’re doing, and who you are. Find the good in each thing, including in yourself.
- Loving yourself, and everything else too.
Once you’ve found the good to appreciate, in yourself or anything/anybody around you, learn to love it. This is the beauty of life, and it is incredible.
These are the key skills, and they’ll help you with pretty much any of the problems we talked about in this book — unhealthy habits, jealousy, feeling bad about yourself, bad relationships, debt and procrastination and much more.
They take time to learn. One small step at a time, you can learn them. And enjoy yourself each small step along the way.
It is my immense privilege to be talking to you about these skills, these challenges you face, this central principle of a good life. I have confidence that you can learn these skills, and that they’ll profoundly change your life. Thank you, for reading this book to the end, and for your attention.
It is appreciated.