Originally published November 26th 2007
Every day there seems to be meetings and marches to protest against all sorts of things and people have very strong feelings about many of the decisions they are contesting.
Through the years the lower classes were obliged to make the most of what they had and live their lives accordingly. In doing so they learned to help and depend on each other and soon found the companionship that developed gave them a kind of warm content feeling of confidence.
The better off were more likely to be intent on mixing with the members of the class above them, hoping to raise their own status. Often oblivious of the hurt they were inflicting on their fellows. Traces of this behaviour are still evident in today’s Society.
Did You Know?
Years ago communities were very close knit and neighbours were always there to rally round and help each other. They had to, there was little or no assistance available from anyone else. The average person today has far more than their predecessors dreamed of and yet it is constantly stated there is more discontent in our society now than there ever has been.
Even during wars and depressions the poor and working classes seemed able to resign themselves to their situation and manage to find some sort of contentment. That didn’t mean they were happy but they had the ability to put their worries to one side and face each day ready to enjoy to the full any small pleasure that might come their way.
So what does it mean to be content? Possession of worldly goods has little or nothing to do with it! There are three basic essentials required. We all know when a very young baby is content: – After it is fed, warm and dry and being cuddled. It has no knowledge of anything else so has no further wants. This doesn’t change as we grow up.
Before we can expect any sort of serenity we must have companionship, shelter and food. This includes having a true friend at our side through both the good and the bad times: – Someone we can confide in and discuss our innermost thoughts. If we have such a person, a place we can call home and food on the table, no matter what league or class we belong to that contentment is within reach.
Being content should not be confused with being satisfied. Ideally, we should never be satisfied with what we have and be constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our life. At the same time, it is just as important to make the most of what we have and get the maximum enjoyment from it.
Unfortunately, with the incessant flow of adverts thrust on us from the media and almost everywhere we look, youngsters today are put under great pressure to keep up with their fellows. This inevitably passes on to their parents who feel obliged to respond. It has always been said; – A poor man derives far more pleasure from the gift of a bicycle than a rich man would ever get if he was given a Rolls Royce!’
We are all born at a certain level in society and that is where the majority of us remain all our lives. Those that do move up or down the ladder face extra stress and settling down to a new way of life can be very hazardous. For all of us, if we can shrug off the idea that contentment goes hand in hand with wealth and resist begrudging what others have, contentment is within our grasp.
If you do envy the position or possessions that someone else has perhaps you should think of the old saying: – ‘The more you have the more you want!’ This of course is probably true of all of us but our reason for wanting something should be to better ourselves or our loved ones. Not just because we see a friend or neighbour have it. There is another old saying: – ‘What you’ve never had, you never miss!’ That is also true.
Everyone wants the best for their nearest and dearest but while forging ahead to get it we must be careful not to forsake any of the traditional values that bind families and communities together. At some stage in the growing up process children will follow the example set by their parents and those lucky enough to come from a happy close knit family are the most likely to be able to cope with all that life demands of them in the future.
Those who believe that the most important thing in life is to be content should make time in their busy schedule to stop and think of what they already have.
Ask themselves if they are making the most of it: – Always assume a glass to be ‘half full’ rather than ‘half empty’: – Remember the three essentials and concentrate on them: – Determine what part they play in your life and make sure you are giving them priority: – Set your mind on the times you have been close to your nearest companion, feeling cosy, warm and so at ease you wish time would stand still.
Have you felt that warm glow, perhaps on a winter’s day when you are relaxing together in a warm room after a meal, enjoying each others company or just sitting back watching and listening to the laughter of the children as they play?