“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence on the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing, the greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” – Seneca
When I first read this quote, it reminded me of those math problems. Too wordy, verbose, tedious, long-winded, prolix, and dense.
Incredibly ironic, the point is quite simple. Seneca says, to be truly happy in life you must be satisfied with what you have. A song heard thousands of times.
But there’s a catch. Eliminating all sadness, fear and doubt doesn’t solve the problem.
Contentment goes both ways. Yes, you can’t be dwelling on every drawback or disadvantage dealt in life. But Seneca also alludes that anxiously hoping for what you don’t have is also a problem. Though entirely different, both hope and fear distances you from being content what you have now. They create in you a desire to step away from what you have.
“Hope- the thing with feathers” (E. Dickinson) is by no means useless. It motivates, encourages, and expects with confidence.
Seneca’s definition of hope is a heavy reliance of expectations for an unrealistic change.
Too wordy, verbose, tedious, long-winded, prolix, and dense?
Hope for good things to come, but learn be happy without it.
I’m definitely still trying to figure this one out.