Happiness is overrated. The probability of leading a life comprising solely of happy instances is non-existent. The world functions on the duality of emotions: If you are happy one day, you are bound to be sad the next. Without this contradiction, you would never truly experience emotion in its raw form.
This is why, many philosophers, including Aristotle, guided their followers to lead a life that comprises contentment. Unlike happiness, contentment is a feeling that is stable, consistent and can be easily controlled.
Contentment is defined as ‘a state of satisfaction.’ It is not entirely a feeling; rather, it is a mental state which reflects peace in the mind, body and the daily routine. Achieving this state is not as difficult as it may seem. With a few adjustments in the habits and lifestyle, you can lead a peaceful and contented life.
Discontinue your need to be right all the time
The need to be right is a natural response that has travelled through generations. It is our primal instinct to protect ourselves from any threats or dangerous situations that we may encounter.
In the early stages of civilisation, human being received threats from the wildlife around them. When this happened, their autonomic nervous system in the body became active, which in turn led to the person either fleeing from the situation or addressing the threat head-on. However, with evolution and development, the severity, as well as the origin of the threats shifted. Instead of fearing wild animals, human beings started fearing one another.
In the contemporary era, the threats originate from being wrong in an argument or situation. When a mistake is pointed out, the mind and the body perceive it as a threat to integrity and respect. Thus, when the fight or flight mode is activated, it becomes our natural response to fight back to prove ourselves right.
However, the constant fighting, despite being wrong, can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It can drain all the energy within you, and push you to continuously engage in battles that you do not have time for.
In contrast, if you accept defeat when you know that you are in the wrong, you can introduce peace within your life. Additionally, you can use the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and grow as a human being.
End the blame game
The blame game is also another method that people apply to prove themselves right. We assign blame to justify our own adverse behaviours. How many times have you heard yourself say, ‘The teacher did not effectively teach this course,’ or ‘I would have been a better friend if the emotion was reciprocated,’ or ‘I would have tried harder if the other person deserved it.’
By blaming others, you deal dishonestly with yourself. In fact, you restrict yourself from the opportunity to grow and learn. Hence, it is crucial to recognise your own mistakes in the moments that you are at fault. This will help you lead a simple and peaceful life.
Wage war against your inner demons
The greatest enemy that you may ever encounter in your life is yourself. Your inner demon knows you inside and out. This entity is aware of all your strengths and weaknesses, and thus holds power to destroy you completely.
If your inner demon is not silenced, it can punish you for the rest of your life. It can make you second-guess everything and can cause you to feel insecure when you attempt to do something. As a result of this insecurity, you may become defensive and eventually, lose sight of who you are.
Stop making excuses
Finding peace can be barricaded by your habit of making excuses for problems. If you continually excuse your wrong behaviour, it can eventually become a part of your personality. Thus, you may lose the ability to distinguish between what is right and wrong. Keeping this in mind, it is crucial to call yourself out for doing something that harms you or others. By refusing to excuse your behaviour, you will lead a peaceful life.
Complain, but learn to let go
For most people, complaining is a medium through which they release their negative emotions. Talking about their problems helps them release anxiety and the tension that often coincides with it. However, if you complain to make others feel sorry for you, then you are likely to end up feeling worse than before. This is because when a person sympathises with you, you end up internalising the same emotions. Consequently, you feel sorry for yourself.
The alternative to this can be to complain for a while and then pick yourself up to find solutions that can solve the problem. Becoming a problem solver can help you have a positive attitude to every challenge that may come your way.
Leave judgements for the jury
Another habit that holds the potential to suck the peace out of your life is making judgements. Judgements include commenting on someone’s appearance, looks, habits or even situations. When you place yourself on a pedestal and criticise others, it shows that you are insecure about yourself. This insecurity further increases when you engage in the act of judgment.
However, if you want to add a flavour of peace in your life, you must avoid judging yourself and others. You must empathise with people and accept that their actions are fuelled by their experiences in life. Empathy will help you find peace within yourself without taking it away from another individual.
Aim to impress yourself, not others
The modern society is big on impressions. The motive of every individual is to leave a positive impression on their audience, and if they fail to transfer that impression, they become disheartened and distressed.
The influence of a third party’s opinions on the acts that you perform in your own life can take away your peace. It has the power to leave you in a state of constant stress and worry about what people think of you. This can cause so much harm that you may fail to live a truly happy life. Hence, it is important to do things that impress you, and no one else.
Be open to change
Change is inevitable. No matter how hard you try to stop the world from changing, you will always end up failing miserably. Similarly, if you stop evolving with the world, you may never be able to lead a peaceful life. This is because you will find yourself ten steps behind everyone else, and this will cause discouragement. Keeping this in mind, adapting to change is crucial. So, you must stay open to all the possibilities offered by the world.
Stop labelling things/people
In the current society, labelling things or people have become our second nature. People tend to place labels on things they do not understand. The stress that results from the lack of understanding compels them to use their judgement and assimilate the person or a thing in their own existing schema.
However, when you do that, you restrict yourself from the opportunity to extend your existing schema. You are essentially stopping yourself from learning and exploring more. The expansion of knowledge is directly correlated with peace. Any individual living a peaceful life always has more knowledge of how the world works. So, to feel content, stop placing labels and aim to learn more.
Embrace your fears
Fear is considered as a force that contradicts with peace. In reality, peace and fear complement one another. This is because you give fear the power to control you when you have the power to control it. If you manage to achieve the latter, you can feel content in the middle of chaos.
Therefore, to control your fear, the first thing that you need to do is to embrace it. Accepting the fear and its influence can help you learn more about yourself and can also provide you with solutions on how you can tackle the fear.
Avoid placing yourself in a box
Placing yourself in a box means that you tend to stay in a spot where you feel comfortable. Most people believe that comfort is correlated with contentment. However, the two cannot co-exist. If you are comfortable in the same place, you are refusing to grow as a person. The lack of growth can end up causing feelings of frustration, anger, and heaps of stress. Therefore, you need to gather courage and take risks, even if you are on the verge of feeling disappointed. Your risks may not always lead to success, but they will help you learn.
Use the past to motivate you
When the past influences the present, it can result in either of the two outcomes: It can destroy the present, or it can launch you to success. The former happens when you use the past as an excuse to move forward. You may find yourself stuck in that one moment that took place years ago. As a result, one negative event may end up shaping your perceptions about the present and the future. However, if you use it as a lesson, the past may benefit you in the present. This can be done by using the lessons you have learned and applying them to the decisions you make in the future. In doing so, you can inject peace in your life.
As stated earlier, discomfort is vital to growth, whereas growth is vital to contentment. If you want to lead a life that you are satisfied with, bringing in discomfort is essential. This is important as moments of discomfort are often followed by feelings of victory. When you take a risk, or when you step out of your comfort zone, you initially feel threatened. However, when the risk pays off, and when your objective is achieved, there is no better feeling. Therefore, it is essential to engage in the things that scare you, as the reward will be worth the risk.
Compete only with yourself
Competition can be healthy if it’s with oneself. The measure of your growth should only be compared with who you were before. Comparisons with other people can be extremely detrimental to your self-esteem. This is because there will always be someone who performs a certain task better than you. If you place that person on a pedestal, you will never be content with who you are. So, always strive to become better than who you used to be.
Live at your own pace
If you view life as a race, you will not be at peace. By placing impossible deadlines for yourself, you will put yourself on a racing track that would not lead to a life of contentment. Also, you will return to the starting line. Therefore, you must remind yourself that it is okay to move forward at your own pace.
Accept your shortcomings
In addition to moving at your own pace, it is equally important to accept your flaws. Being a human being, you are bound to have certain weaknesses that hold you back. So, embrace them, learn from them and find alternative ways to compensate for them.
Find a rock to hold on to
Feeling at peace does not have to be a solitary journey. Instead, you can find people who can help you arrive at your destination. This rock can be a friend, a family member or even an assignment writing service. Make sure that you are surrounded by individuals who have your best interest at heart. Confide in these people and help them guide you into a life full of peace, joy and contentment!