Being content, happy, satisfied, delighted, are there any more synonyms? Who in the world does not want to be happy or content? Who would want to be sad and upset most of their life? On a side note, that might be why some people cannot empathize with people who struggle with depression; however, depression is more than just not being happy.
There is a constant struggle where I always am trying to achieve being content or satisfied. For example, I set for myself specific goals that I’d like to meet. Eventually, I attain those goals; I may feel content for a little while, right? But after that, I begin to feel like I need something else. Being content is often pursued in a way that I will continually and absolutely feel content no matter what. I need to ask myself, is that realistic? At times, I personally become overwhelmed because there are just so many things I need to attain or reach. It creates this tightness within my chest and only continues this anxiety of completing this list of things to feel slightly content.
Being content is mixed with our sense of freedom. If I want to be content, I need inner freedom. Jacques Philippe states in Interior Freedom that I have this enormous desire for freedom because I aspire to be happy. So what is tied into my happiness? Or better put, what is my reason to be happy?
Philippe makes a compelling point, “Another fundamental mistake about freedom is to make it into something external, depending on circumstances, and not something primarily internal. Let me explain. More often than not, we feel our circumstances limit our freedom: the restrictions imposed on us by society, the obligations of all kinds that other people lay upon us, this or that physical or health limitation, and so on. To find our freedom, we imagine we have to get rid of those restrictions and limitations. When we feel stifled or trapped in some way by circumstances, we resent the institutions or the people that seem to be their cause. How many grievances we have toward everything in life that doesn’t go as we wish, and so prevents us from being as free as we would desire!” Just replace the word freedom with being content or happiness, and you’ll come to the same point. Our freedom, our happiness, our being content comes from within. It comes from allowing myself to accept things as they are. If I want to be content, I need to consent.
“Consent leads to a completely different interior attitude. We say yes to a reality we initially saw as negative because we realize that something positive may arise, this hints at hope.” Consent is different than hopelessly surrendering or resigning to something. “The ultimate difference between resignation and consent is that with consent, even though the objective reality remains the same, our hearts’ attitude is very different. For example, consenting to our being’s weaknesses means trusting in God, who created us as we are. Therefore, that act of consent contains faith in God, confidence toward Him, and hence also love, since trusting someone is already a way of loving him. Because of this presence of faith, hope, and love, consent acquires great value, scope, and fruitfulness.”
If I want to be content, I need to consent.