written by Erica Quam
In yoga philosophy, there's a concept of contentment called santosa. I didn't take to that concept right away. To me contentment seemed to indicate that I should be satisfied with where I was...and I didn't come with that mindset.
Growing up I was a competitive swimmer and even a competitive musician. I played piano and performed much better in competition than I did when I played recitals in front of family and friends. It was the competition that helped me to stretch to another level.
After college when I got into coaching, I loved when our team got to race. I would get so excited to create lineups, match people up, and envision about how well they would perform and how they would improve.
So, being content was not something I gave much thought to.
I've learned now that contentment isn't about complacency at all. Contentment can be a valuable concept - for coaches and athletes alike. No matter what you're striving for and what you are moving towards in your life, if you don't appreciate where you are and what you have...the journey ahead will be a real struggle!
In today's world of constant comparison, non-stop judgement, and self criticism - there's a lot to be said for this concept of santosa. As long as there is comparison, there cannot be contentment. Contentment arises when you stop comparing yourself to others.
Sure, in athletics, you may be competing against someone else or another team, AND the only person you actually have control over is yourself. Many times we compare our insides with other people's outsides...what we perceive of them from our own experience. We can be the harshest critics around and the hardest on ourselves.
Instead, try a simple formula: 1. acknowledge what you have (your strengths, your talents, & your gifts), 2. appreciate what you have (be grateful for these things), and then 3. give what you have each day (use your gifts out in the world).
When you are grateful for what you have - instead of putting your attention on what you lack or where you fall short - you can unlock the real joys and the happiness in life.
You are unique and special. There is NO one else in the world exactly like you. Take a moment to acknowledge yourself for who you are - and your strengths, talents, & gifts. Consider what you are grateful for today. Now think of one thing that you'll do today to share your gifts out in the world - and leave a comment below.
I am grateful for you! I am grateful that you are taking your valuable time and attention to read my words. I hope that you find something in them that is helpful to you.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving filled with gratitude!