|The Golden Sunset // Personal Picture|
It seemed you liked the latest Food for Thought post, with less links but more explanation as to why I was inspired. I decided to adopt the same form for this latest iteration, questioning happiness versus contentment, and how to find the inner strength to weather life's more difficult moments.
On Slow Your Home - Contentment: the Underachieving Version of Happiness?
Creating a life of constant, quiet contentment means you are in a strong place from which to weather the storms of disappointment, setback and upset and you are better prepared to experience those joyful moments when they do arrive.
A bit like Perfection versus Adequacy, it may seem that happiness versus contentment is a game of words. But it is so much more than that. As Brooke explains in this article, looking for happiness could be "aiming for the best experiences possible to reach the highest levels of happiness". Nobody can live "the best experiences" all the time though, life has its ups and downs.
To me, it is exactly the same as the concept of perfection - constant happiness isn't achievable on this basis, and one can waste much quality time running after happiness instead of enjoying the present moment, no matter how flawed it may be.
What I really found interesting in her presentation of contentment, is that she says it doesn't wait for the best moments to manifest itself, it provides energy and confidence to overcome harder times too. And I find this point very important, as it is "easy" to be happy when you're living a fantastic experience, but it is during the lower times of life that you really need the inner strength to see the bright side of things and move towards better days.
Finally, the list of changes she made to reach her current state of contentment are a great resource if you are looking to cultivate quiet contentment as well.
On Be More With Less - 7 Things to Do When You are Really Sad
In my experience, one of the benefits of simplifying your life is more happiness, or time to enjoy more happiness, but it doesn’t prevent sad things from happening. Maybe being really sad helps us fully appreciate the real sweetness of life. Don’t judge yourself for crying or feeling down. Take time to be sad, and then get back to the sweetness.
Courtney Carver likes to make some lists of simple things to do to simplify our lives. I like this concrete, step by step approach of a simple life, especially when I find myself not knowing where to start. In this very timely post, Courtney lists down 7 simple things to do in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed by sadness.
This article is also a good reminder that, even when we are on a simplification journey, leveled up and cultivated a more joyful life, it is alright to feel sad, it isn't a failure or a setback. On the contrary, we can see it as a challenge that will help us appreciate the sweeter moments to come.
On Zen Habits - What to Do With Your Life
Focus on what you can do right now that will be good no matter what the future brings. Make stuff. Build stuff. Learn skills. Go on adventures. Make friends. These things will help in any future.
In this post, directed to young people wondering where to take their life and career, Leo Babauta reminds life lessons useful for any age: we never know what the future will be made of, no matter how carefully we plan it. We need to learn to be OK with discomfort, with uncertainty. And, most of all, we shouldn't let ourselves be paralyzed by these things.
Instead, we can focus on spending our time now on doing things that will matter for any future - honing skills, making friends, growing as human beings. A good reminder, for young adults searching their way, but also for not so young adult wondering if they have lost their way...
Picture: The Golden Sunset, one of the first sky pictures taken with my proper camera, as a test for luminosity and colours.