Contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment are words that always seem to remain elusive to us, regardless of how well we do in our life. Let’s explore the reasons why humans never seem to attain a contented and happy life.
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
– Oprah Winfrey
Throughout human history, one of the questions that has always puzzled each one of us is whether or not we can be really happy and content with our life. Yet, we rarely come across a person who can claim to be perfectly content with what he has, and has no desire to obtain more, or to do better. We all long to have more; more than what we already have, and even more than what others have.
Give someone a great job, a beautiful house, and a great life, and still you find that the vessels of his desire never gets filled. Even if all your wishes were to come true, they would not last a very long time, and soon enough you would be wanting something more, or something different. So, are we, in the first place, even capable of achieving satisfaction in our lives, or is it that it is in our very nature to always crave for more and more?
Here is some food for thought on things that probably keep us from being content in life.
Why Are Humans Never Content?
This is How We are Meant to Be!
Although this sounds a bit too pessimistic, maybe craving for things and desiring incessantly is in our very nature. Nature has given us the ability to grow and evolve by constantly changing ourselves and our surroundings. This may be the reason why we never feel satisfied with our present condition, and hence always strive to do better for ourselves in the future.
Comparing with Others
The evils of comparison are much more far-fetched than we usually think them to be. Comparing ourselves to others with respect to our financial, emotional, social, or intellectual condition keeps us unhappy about our own lives, and leads to low self-esteem. We tend to rarely focus on our own unique talents and abilities, or what we already have. Comparing with others shifts our focus away from the positive aspects of our own life, and we tend to become disheartened, thinking about what others have that we do not.
Human beings have always been very curious. Curiosity is what made us come out of our cave-dwelling times, and led us to all the technological and intellectual advancements we now see around us. But this very same curiosity also makes us attracted to things we do not know about, or do not have. We are always curious to find out more about objects or experiences that are new and unfamiliar to us. Hence, human curiosity has proved to be a double-edged sword.
Human ambition has never known any bounds. It is human ambition that enabled us to set foot on the moon. We have, in many ways, conquered nature and made our lives more comfortable and possibly more pleasurable. But being ambitious makes us strive harder to improve ourselves and acquire better things. Because of having future ambitions, we are never happy about our present achievements and fulfilled ambitions.
The Need for Change
We enjoy anything that is new and unexplored. Be it a new travel destination, or a new gadget that you plan to buy for yourself. A good change in our lives does keep us happy and content for some time, but soon the unavoidable boredom creeps in, and once again we wish for some more changes and variety in life. This human nature to rejoice in change and diversity always keeps us dissatisfied with our day-to-day life and environment.
Wanting to Please Others
We do so many things just to please others and to improve our image in their minds. Trying to please everyone around can be difficult and very temporary too. In our efforts to please others, we forget that they are also people like us who are never satisfied with anything for more than just a short period of time. So, trying to improve our self-esteem by creating a better impression on others never leads to any satisfaction.
We grow up in a society that praises those who have more and are ‘better-off’ than those who have less. We are encouraged to toil harder to obtain more and more things for ourselves without giving a second thought to whether we actually need them or not. We live in a world where ‘more the merrier’ is considered to be the only way towards achieving happiness. We forget that the best things in life are free, and do not indulge in doing the simple things that give us real contentment and happiness.
I think humans can never really be completely content. But we can be much more satisfied with ourselves if we try to determine how much is enough to keep ourselves happy, and limit ourselves to the pursuit of only that much. Setting up realistic goals and aiming to achieve only that much can keep us away from any disappointments and regrets, and can eventually make us more content in our lives. Otherwise, we would just be chasing our desire for more and more things and yet, never attain satisfaction. The key is to understand that desiring and attaining what you want can never keep you fulfilled in the long run. We all have a choice to be happy with what we have right here and right now. The secret to contentment is to live in the present moment, and do things that you really want to do as an individual.