Recently, I wrote about how contentment is the ultimate financial principle that everyone should have. Being content with what your situation, the stuff you already own, and the career you already have, is such an amazing skill to practice, but do not confuse contentment with complacency.
Being content with what you have doesn’t mean you can simply sit back and wait for life to happen to you. There’s a difference between feeling satisfied and happy with what you have, and simply giving up.
Strive for Financial Freedom
The point of my article last week was not to encourage giving up on financial goals. It’s not healthy to say, “I can never make X amount of money, so I’ll just stop trying.”
Instead, you should be happy with what you have already been blessed with, while still striving for financial security and freedom. Have financial goals and stick with them, while being content in your current situation.
This process will look different for all of us. Sure, it would be nice to have a larger home and a bigger paycheck, but I’m not going to wait for those things to come before I start loving my life. Yet on the other hand, I’m not going to stop putting money away for a new home, or give up on reaching other financial goals. Whether I reach my financial goals or not, I will be content (well, practicing contentment — it is an ongoing battle, amen?).
Happiness is Not Found in Money
The most important thing to remember is that your happiness is not tied to your money or material possessions. You will always find people living below poverty and people making millions who share one thing in common — they are discontent with what they have.
The point is that you will not be happier once you pay off debt, once you pay off your house, or once you make a million dollars. Why? Because while those are all wonderful financial goals to strive for, they should not be the determiner of your happiness and attitude.
Change Your Mindset
Maybe if we take a step back from the dollar signs and look at contentment in another area of life, it will be easier to see how it applies to our finances. Let’s talk about weight loss, since that is on my brain due to just having a baby two months ago.
No matter how much you weigh, it is healthiest to be content with who you are. This doesn’t mean you should say that you love yourself as you are and keep shoving Twinkies in your mouth.
Instead, it should be recognized as more of a process of being happy with yourself, while pursuing a healthier path for health’s sake, rather than always wishing you were someone else or thinking that you’ll be more happy/organized/a better person/etc. once you lose 50 pounds. I’m sure we all know of people who have lost weight and still battle with loving themselves.
Contentment Does Not Mean Giving Up
I truly hope this makes sense because financial security and freedom is more than just a number’s game. Many of us have money issues that are deeply tied to our emotions, and if we do not take control of them we will never experience true joy in life.
Contentment is about being satisfied in who we are as people and with the blessings we already have. Don’t stop striving to pay off debt. Keep saving your money and investing so you can have a well-funded nest egg.
Just remember that you shouldn’t wait to be content until all of your financial goals are met. An extra million dollars will not cure a discontent heart.
Do you struggle with being content? What’s another way that being content helps your finances?