One Little Word 2018: Santosha

January 1, 2018 Life 1

I love personality tests. On the Myers-Briggs, I’m an ENFJ. On the Enneagram, I’m a 3, The Achiever. Sounds good, right? Well. Turns out my biggest asset is also my biggest weakness, as assets tend to be.

I love achieving. It feels so good! But what happens when circumstances are outside of my control? When I can’t make the outcome I desire? When I work hard and hustle, and, still, things don’t go my way?

That’s where I fall apart. And become absolutely miserable to be around.

Last year I went through my 200 hour yoga teacher training. The thing I took from the training the most wasn’t the poses but rather the mindset. I got really into the eightfold path and the concept the yamas and niyamas. And the word santosha stood out to me and blazed a hole in my head.

Santosha, according to several sources, is the concept of complete contentment. No, not laziness or giving up. But rather acceptance. That worth doesn’t have to do with outcome. That achievement isn’t all there is.

So much of my unhappiness stems from feeling discontent. Here’s a sampling of my daily self-talk (and also talk I say to my family and close friends):

I don’t have enough time!

I’ll never be good enough!

I’m unworthy.

No one likes me.

I’m not strong enough.

I can’t do that well enough.

I’m too fat.

My quads are too big.

I’m ugly.

I’m a bad writer.

I think you get the idea.

If something doesn’t match up for me, then BOOM! I’M THE WORST AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN SAY TO CHANGE MY MIND!

Phew. How exhausting. Living like this has taught me two things:

There is no THERE. There is no where to be except dead. I’m in no hurry to get to death. So every day doesn’t have to be about achieving mythical goals. Instead, it could be about the process of LIVING.

Also, one of my highest values is CONNECTION. I love to love on my family and close friends. I want to shower them with love. I also want to be a source of light and love in the world because that’s just good. But, if I’m too busy hating on myself over and over and over, then I do not have love to give. You cannot give what you don’t have.

My intention with santosha is to see how I can live in a dichotomy of ambition and contentment. My hope is through loosening the grip on outcomes, I find more peace, happiness, and fulfillment.

Did you pick a word for 2018? What did you pick? How do you plan to use your word throughout the year?