Path Towards Joy
Yesterday I was reading about contentment as a key to feeling joy.
This made me wonder how contentment and gratitude were different and a few of my friends weighed in on my "ponder this" question. I think the two are closely tied together, as are gratitude and appreciation. But there appear to be some subtle differences.
Gratitude is the act of being grateful. And grateful is defined as being appreciative of the benefits received. This means to feel gratitude you have received something.
Appreciation is a feeling or expression of admiration, approval, and gratitude. There is power in personal appreciation because, in many cases, we are tough on ourselves. However, this also has a form of judgment attached to it.
Contentment is the act of being contented. And being content is defined as feeling or showing satisfaction with one's possessions, status, or situation, which seems a bit more neutral than appreciation.
Together, these practices, gratitude, appreciation, and contentment, have tremendous power to shift our mental perspective and change our view.
Earlier this week, at the end of my yoga practice, I decided to state my appreciation for myself.
I ended up lying down and crying for about 15 minutes. Why? Because I am always striving to be better. I am striving to help others. Striving to overcome past mistakes.
In that moment of appreciation for myself, the striving fell into the ways side, and a sense of contentment enveloped me. A cloud lifted off my shoulders, and I felt deep joy. The tears were of joy.
This doesn't mean I don't want to continue to be my best self, help others and not repeat past mistakes.
But it does mean I can slow down and feel gratitude for all my blessings. Appreciate who I am right now. And be content in this present moment.
If you would like to chat with me and learn more about these practices as keys to joy and living life fully, please email me or book a time to chat (30-minute consultations are free).