Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
Lao Tzu

My word for 2011 was Gentle.

I held that word in my heart as I navigated school and work. I meditated on it as I slipped between consciousness. I attempted to keep it at the forefront of my mind when I would start my anxiety spirals.

And it was lovely.

I was dubious of this experience. I thought that it was grand to have a word in your head but how would it actually translate into real life? But it did. As I look back over the year, I am impressed at how that simple word, carried in my heart, affected me.

So, as 2012 rolled around, I thought about what word did I want to help define my year. I knew I was walking into a year which would be challenging. I am at a turning point in my program, getting closer to finishing. I am also feeling more protective of my relationships, and less open to change (though that change is a tricky beast). I am also working on my life list, specifically thinking about our finances.

It’s a big year with changes and excitement as well as sadness and challenges.

Thus, when I was cycling through words in my mind and heart, contentment jumped out at me. It truly spoke to me, stating that this was my word.

Contentment, defined, means: the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of mind.

I like contentment because of the action sound it has. The fact that it seems as if this is a decision which me make, to be content. To live in a state of contentment, rather than just being.

I’m working it out. I roll this word around in my head most days and try to understand what this even means, because it’s not as simple as being gentle with myself. It’s a challenge to find contentment, but one which I am happy to begin.

  • Kendall


    I think that this word is fabulous…I might even steal it. I have been having a very difficult time being happy at where I am in life. “Why am I not making more money” “Why can’t I get the house I want” “Why can’t my body be where I want it to be” ect.

    I really need to learn to be happy with the blessing I have and not dwell in the things I don’t have. I must find contentment in where I am in life. But, I fear that if I become content then I will become complacent, though I need to be able to realize that being at peace in life is not giving up.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • Nicole

      Kendall: I think what you’re saying is often a hard line to walk. But you’re right, being content (and finding contentment) does not mean you have to become complacent. Rather, I think it means finding the peace where you are and moving with that peace through the next places in your life.

  • ChetG

    I think you’ve picked a beautiful word, and it’s very fitting. I’m happy to be here with you on this journey, and hope I am helpful more often than not for you.

  • iris

    Ah, contentment. This is something that I’m not sure I’ll ever really feel for long periods of time. If you are ambitious, you will always want more progress and work harder to get it. I feel a bit conflicted about ‘contentment’ because it seems like it might be too close to ‘stagnation’. But maybe it’ll better work for you.

    • Nicole

      Hey Iris: Like I told Kendall, it is a pretty fine line to try to walk. But I often find that I get caught up in the pushing myself harder and harder and forget to find joy and peace and contentment with where I am at the moment. And that’s what I am working toward.