Contentment vs. Complacency

I’m late. But have arrived, an official blogger crashing this cyberspace party. Official only in that I’ve spent a few hours choosing fonts and lamenting over my crow’s feet when uploading my picture. Then I officially clicked ‘post’ for the very first time here at Words by Angela.

The goal of Words by Angela is to be encouraging, to offer up my perspective and remind you that you matter, but not that much, so settle down and don’t take yourself (or me) too seriously. Breathe. Smile. And for now, let’s chat about being content but never complacent.

It’s my theory that Americans struggle with contentment because we confuse contentment with complacency. We resist being content because we think it equals the end of achievement. That it means being happy with never trying anything new, reaching goals or creating change.

Many envision contentment like reclining on a deck chair aboard a cruise ship, sipping a cocktail and watching the world go by. That could be fine for a bit. But eventually, you’ll want off the damned boat so you can explore new territory, taste local food and meet new people. And God forbid there is trouble at sea. Wouldn’t you gladly abandon that imaginary deck chair of contentment to help those in need?

If you think you would still prefer to sit comfortably while others explore, learn or shoulder the world’s cargo during a crisis, that’s not contentment. That’s laziness. Or illness. Or fear.

On the other hand, if our energy is always hyper-focused on the B.B.D. (bigger better deal) like a more elaborate house, a loftier sounding title, a bigger payday or the most prestigious schools for the children, we are are merely chasing the illusion of a contentment that can never quite be captured. True contentment comes from being grateful for what we have and comfortable with whom we are. It’s taking time each day to thank the Creator for our circumstance but always with an eye toward how we can still be useful. It is acceptance without necessarily settling.

So take a breath. Smile and be grateful. But don’t settle on the leisure deck of complacency. Instead, choose to do something every day to strengthen your body, brain, relationships, neighborhood and spiritual life. Be content but never complacent.

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