Nine Days to Create Nine New Habits
(See footnote at bottom for introduction and previous days' reflections)
Day 5: Replace the habit of WISTFUL THINKING with the virtue of CONTENTMENT
WISTFUL THINKING: We can always imagine a better life that will come someday when we have it all together. My children will have married wonderful spouses who treat them well. I will have enough money so I will never feel anxious again. My body will be the perfect shape and weight. I slip into “If only” thinking: if only I could get over my jealousy, then . . . If only I had a better childhood, then . . . This could not possibly be it! Life is too ordinary. I wish I had . . . Someday . . .
CONTENTMENT: Contentment is the capacity to be present enough to experience what I do have instead of what I don’t have. The imagined life keeps me one step removed from appreciating the life I have. It is possible to move from longing to gratitude. My eyes open and see that, joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure, it is all good. My preference for that certain extraordinary feeling melts into a deep contentment. That perfect moment of fulfillment is in the ordinariness of the day.
Delete: Wistful Thinking
Exercise: Take a moment to reflect and breathe.
Part 1: Ask yourself these questions:
· What do I continue to long for?
· How much of the time do I feel something is missing in my life?
· In what ways do I think the past or the future is better than now?
Replace with: Contentment
When you notice your attention wandering off into dissatisfaction, name one thing you are grateful for in your life. Make it a small thing. Nothing special.
"The world is full of people looking for spectacular happiness while they snub contentment."
– Doug Larson
Feel free to ask any questions or share any comments with me.
View Introduction and Day 1: Replace the habit of VANITY with the virtue of AUTHENTICITY
View Day 2: Replace the habits of FEAR and DOUBT with the virtues of COURAGE and FAITH
View Day 3: Replace the habit of LETHARGY with the virtue of ACTION
View Day 4: Replace the habit of IRRITATION with the virtue of PATIENCE