How To Be Content With Whatever You Have Wherever You Are

Would you like to learn how to be content with what you have and where you currently are in life? If so, here’s an object lesson for you to ponder:

As I write this, our family of four is spending 2 1/2 weeks sleeping in a 1974 trailer (aka glorified tin can) on our family’s property in (usually) sunny Florida. Unfortunately, for the past few days, Florida has been experiencing a cold snap. And we are without heat. We are all sleeping on air mattresses and last night, the one I was sleeping on sprung a leak. When we arrived we were confronted with 40+ years worth of other people’s stuff. Which we subsequently spent precious time, energy, and money decluttering. Once we could see the floor we discovered water damage. Due to the fact that the mobile home we are staying in lacks a stove or cooking utensils, our meals consist of whatever we can heat in the microwave or eat raw. To top it all off, the brakes just went out on our van.

Oh, and did I mention…we are on “vacation”?

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“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.

~ Philippians 4:12

Ten tips for how to be content with whatever you have wherever you are

Despite the fact that I was on (what some people would consider) the complete opposite of a vacation, I was quite content throughout most of our trip. {Truth be told, the 28+ hour road trip with two kids and a dog was a bit stressful.} Overall, though, I remained fairly content with our circumstances and was extremely happy I had the chance to reconnect with family and friends during our 2 1/2 week stay.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of “Boo-hooing” and complaining whenever life places me in situations I’d rather not be in. There are times I’ve drooled over the latest iPhone that I couldn’t afford. More than once I have wished I was driving a sporty new pickup truck instead of my soccer-mom minivan.

When these ugly feelings of discontentment surface, I am forced to re-evaluate my personal goals in order to put things back into perspective.

Here are some things I (try to) regularly remind myself to do in order to cultivate a spirit of contentment.

1. STOP COMPLAINING

Grumbling and whining are the enemies of contentment. It’s impossible to be content when we complain more than we appreciate. Remember the phrase that many of us often quote to our kids when they are whining,

“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

I know from experience that this is easier said than done. There are times I’ve had to literally put my hand over my mouth in order to stop myself from complaining about how “unfair” life can be.

In order to break the habit of frequent complaining, you may need to enlist the help of your spouse or even your children. Ask them to politely remind you whenever you start grumbling about the long line at the supermarket, a rude co-worker, or how so-and-so’s house is much nicer than yours.

2. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE

Oftentimes, we fail to be content because our outlook is flawed. We assign importance to things which ultimately do not matter.

In the grand scheme of things does it really matter if traffic is backed-up, your son spilled his juice (again), the puppy peed on the floor, or you don’t have enough money in your bank account to buy a new pair of shoes?

I think not.

Rather than dwell on the negative, choose to focus on the positive. Eventually, traffic will clear up and you will make it to your destination. Your son will learn how to clean up his own messes. One day, the puppy’s bladder will mature and he will provide you with years of companionship.

Those new shoes probably would have hurt your feet, anyway.

“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

3. BE THANKFUL

If you really want to know how to be content, you must first learn to be thankful for what you have.

You can start by being thankful you are alive.

In the two weeks that our family was in Florida, a young family of 4 lost their lives in a traffic accident. A deacon of the local church was killed while riding his bike by someone who shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. A *fellow blogger, her husband, and two of their children died in a house fire. Four people were killed and over 50 injured in a terrorist attack in London.

Our lives are truly but a whisper. You never know when your last moment on Earth will be.

Be thankful for every breath you take, each morsel you taste, and for all of the people you love.

How to Be Content Wherever you are With Whatever you Have

4. DON’T COMPARE

“Comparison is the death of joy.”~Mark Twain

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, thinner, and more successful than you. Don’t bother comparing yourself to others. You’ll only end up disappointing yourself. 

Instead, look for the good in everyone. And focus on using your talents to benefit others.

5. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Knowing how to be content with your life does not mean you stop moving forward, dreaming or learning new things. However, you may discover you need to lower your expectations in order to be more content.

Often, chasing after an elusive dream causes undue stress which can lead to feelings of discontent.

I am a dreamer by nature. I’ll frequently build things up (in my own head) which in reality, are unattainable given my current circumstances. As a result, I am often disappointed when things don’t turn out the way I want them to.

By lowering your expectations, you will be able to celebrate life’s small accomplishments. By celebrating life’s small accomplishments, you will be encouraged to accomplish more. And so on and so on.

6. PUT PEOPLE BEFORE THINGS

Upon your inevitable death, how do you want to be remembered? Do you want people to say, “Wow, she sure had a lot of nice stuff!”

Or would you rather people remember you for the love, kindness, and generosity you freely gave to them?

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

~J. R. R. Tolkien

7. DO AWAY WITH WISH LISTS

In my opinion, wish lists are the ultimate form of expressing one’s dissatisfaction. And yes, I currently have a few wish lists on Amazon. When you write a wish list you are really saying, “My life would be better if I had this item.”

If we truly want to learn how to be content with what we have, why are we always wishing for more?

How to Be Content Wherever you are With Whatever you Have

8. FOCUS ON TODAY

Why worry about tomorrow when we are not even guaranteed the rest of today?

Be content with whatever today brings you.

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”~Matthew 6:34

9. SAVOR THE LITTLE THINGS

Ultimately, it’s the “little things” in life that matter.

You know, those mundane things we have experienced hundreds (even thousands) of times, yet too often take for granted.

  • A beautiful sunrise/sunset
  • A baby’s toothless grin
  • An encouraging word from a friend
  • A warm hug at the end of a long day
  • Spring’s first blossoms
  • The rainbow after a storm
  • Laughing until we cry
  • Mastering a new skill
  • Eating a favorite food
  • Trying something new
  • Hearing our spouse say, “I love you.”

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”~Pearl S. Buck

 

10. ELIMINATE EXCESS

“The things you own end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.”~ Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

As many of you may know, I am a minimalistBasically, what this means is that I choose to own only the items I need or love. No more, no less. Being a minimalist has helped me learn how to be content. After all, it’s hard to be content with what you have if you own so much stuff that you don’t even know what you have. Am I right?

Everything we own takes time, energy, and money to maintain. By reducing clutter, we have less “stuff” to worry about. Having less worry in our lives leads to greater contentment.

“Less stuff = less worry. Less worry = more contentment.”~Uncluttered Simplicity

I’m not very good at math, but this is one equation even I can solve!

I encourage you to strive to be more content no matter what you have. Endeavor to be content no matter what life throws at you. Because you only have one life. There are no “do-overs”.

“Sweet sisters, I am not perfect – but I am forgiven. It is shown throughout scripture that those who know that they have been saved from much they are thankful much. It is all about learning that I must decrease, and He must increase. That is what worship is about. God is seeking worshipers – and I want to bring Him that worship in everything – EVERY. THING. I do. Won’t you join me?”~Mandy from Worshipful Living

*On March 21, 2017, fellow Christian, wife, mom, and blogger, Mandy Kelly, her husband, Scott, and two of their four children (son Judah-10 months and daughter Lizzie-9 years), died in a tragic house fire. The Kelly family were friends of my aunt’s. If you could, please take the time to say a prayer for the Kelly family’s two surviving children (daughter Bekah and son Jared) as well as Scott’s mom, who suffered burns from the fire. If you would like to help financially, the couple’s church, Trinity Baptist has set up a fund to help cover expenses. To give, go to the church’s website, click on the “give” button in the upper right-hand corner of the page, and choose “Kelly fund” from the menu. 

Photo Credit-Facebook

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How to Be Content With Whatever you Have Wherever You Are. Ten tips for being content no matter what life throws at you.

How To Be Content With Whatever You Have Wherever You Are. 10 Tips for cultivating contentment no matter your circumstances.

About Cheryl Lemily

A wife, mom of 3 boys & 2 dogs. A minimalist raising a minimalist(ish) family. Living a small, slow, simple life. Helping others declutter & simplify.

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