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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finding Contentment

On Tuesday, I posted a blog about being overcommitted and frazzled, particularly at this time of year. I received this tip, which I'm passing on to those women who contacted me, admitting they, too, suffer from overcommitment and the inability to say "no".

I was told to take two sheets of paper. At the top of one sheet, write:

Things That Make Me Content

At the top of the second sheet, write:

Things That Result in Discontent

"Happiness" is a term that seems to be elusive; when I ask women if they are happy, more than not they respond with, "What is happiness?"

But ask what makes you feel content, and the reaction is quite different.

Something that makes me feel content each and every time I do it is writing. That tells me I need to continue writing.

Something that causes discontent is being manipulated into doing something I would not ordinarily engage in.

For example (because I realize that last sentence was rather vague): I received an invitation in the mail to an engagement party - only the invitation appeared to have come from ME and it was at MY home at a particular date and time. I knew absolutely nothing about it. After making a number of phone calls, trying to run down the source, I found out that a party had indeed been planned without my involvement or consent and several dozen people had received their invitations on the same day that I received mine. Not wishing to blow a bad situation completely out of control, I put on my big girl panties and hosted the party. On the outside, I might have appeared calm or accommodating. Inside, I was seething. The party cost me time and money, and I already had other plans, which I had to cancel.

Lesson: put the brakes on manipulation. Others will try it; there's no doubt about it. But it does not make me content to be manipulated so whatever conscious decision I need to make to prevent it from happening has to be on my front burner.

Let me know if you try the "Content" and "Discontent" columns, and whether it becomes the first step to organizing your life the way it should be.

And I'll continue to post tips as they come in.