May 3, 2015

Feeling Content

A 9th grade class of frum girls was asked to complete the sentence: "I am happy when ..."

Here are some of the answers:

I am not worried about anything.
I am in the company of people I enjoy.
I find something that was missing.
I do a job well.
I overcome a challenge.
I am able to help someone.
I do something satisfyingly creative.
I do something meaningful.

What is the difference between happiness and contentment? One writer (B Myndi) posits that happiness is a single state of pleasure, a momentary feeling which is dependent on externals.  An example would be, getting a phone call with exciting mazal tov news or finding just the thing we need when shopping or getting a compliment.  The joy wears off after a while

While contentment is a long-term state of being that comes from our attitudes and values, not from something outside of us.  It's about acceptance and finding the good in what exists right now.  Babies are great at this.

R' Zushe of Anipoli said you can learn three things from a baby:

 1) always be busy

2) when you need something, cry out for it

3) when your needs are satisfied, be content 

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