Reader’s question… “I have a wonderful husband and the children that I always wanted. We live in a nice house and have enough money to live well. My life should be wonderful but I just don’t feel happy. One thing is that although I don’t necessarily want anything specific I don’t feel content with my life. I worry. I brood about negative things people have said, problems — you get the idea. A friend told me I need an attitude adjustment. Is that all contentment is, attitude?” –Moira B.

I think contentment is almost a default characteristic. Think about how babies and small children are happy with very simple pleasures… they almost have to be taught over a period of years to want something bigger, better, “more fun.” Add in all the other influences that surround us every day… the judgemental expectations of other people and society… and our own ideas of “what ought to be”… and that default contentment changes to discontent and dissatisfaction.

So does contentment have to be relearned? I think so… and I think that this process must begin by accepting that some things in our life can be changed and others cannot… even if you really want them to change… and even if it’s not fair. That’s a hard concept to learn, and an even harder truth to accept… but it IS, I think, the first step to experiencing real contentment. Being content does not mean that you will not still have problems, but as long as you are focusing on the problems, the problems are what you will see.

I believe that life moves in the direction of our thoughts and that when your thoughts are unhappy, you will BE unhappy. When you focus on something, it expands and becomes more important… so consciously celebrate the things you love and enjoy and focus on making more happy moments.

Allow contentment to once again become your default.

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Nicely said and explained, thank you. I have always believed this, so it is nice to read it, explained without judgement or attitude.


My wife is a worrier. I’m at work now but I’m saving this for her. She needs to read it. Very well stated by the way.


More of the wise gentle wisdom I have come to expect from this site. Yours is the first explanation I have found that isn’t judgemental. This viewpoint makes perfect sense. I will try it.


I like your idea that we start out contented and that dissatisfaction and restlessness come later. I think you’re absolutely right about that. I remember hearing an older relative of mine say once, “When did it become such a bad thing to be easily satisfied?” Thank you for this post, it has helped me and I think it will help others too.


Like so many great truths, this is a very simple idea but a very powerful one. Thank-you.


Hi Shirley, Thank you so much for posting this very timely article. The reader (Moira B)who asked this question is certainly not alone in thinking like this – this also applies to me. Thank you also for the honest and touching reply – I’m definitely taking this advice on board.