Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about being content verses being complacent. The word complacent is clearly negative, the word content can mean being happy with what we have. My hairdresser said to me today that our capitalist society is built upon the idea that one can never be “happy” (like the people on TV) because if they were, they would no longer need “stuff” or material goods. Yikes!
The “TV Happy” as I call it, is really just a way of comparing our selves to others, which can often serve us negatively. Last week in yoga as the class began, the teacher said, ‘pay attention to your own body, don’t compare yourselves to others…it’s the best way to avoid injury.’ I love this! What parts of ourselves do we injure, both spiritually and emotionally, when we force ourselves into “positions” that we are not ready or meant to be in? We are meant to reach and strive and stretch, but we are not meant to cause acute pain to ourselves in doing so.
Over the past year I have been thinking about my life and wondering if I was becoming complacent (not reaching and striving enough) or was I simply content?
I applied for a coaching fellowship which has granted me over 12 months of Executive Coaching. Yippee! Having a coach for myself is like having a vehicle for my thoughts, enabling me to turn some of my thoughts into action, and putting some of my thoughts on a shelf for later (or getting rid of them if they are not useful). Mostly, it reduces my natural inclination to compare myself to others and in turn helps me to focus on clarifying what happiness looks and feels like to me.
One way we can stop comparing ourselves to others is to remove the word “should” from our vocabulary, particularly when we talk to ourselves. I “should” make more money, I “should” lose weight, and the list goes on. What does this have to do with complacency and being content? Hmmm… I would love to hear your answer. For me, I think it’s hard to “strive and reach” when I have not spent time clarifying my own values. When I don’t spend time clarifying them, I can become complacent as I am unclear what actions will lead to my happiness. Striving and reaching can be light and fun and full of passion if we are reaching for something that we really want.