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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

A Letter to Contentment

Dear Contentment,

You’re quite the popular fellow these days. All of my therapy clients are saying they want you. They’re even willing to give up Happiness for you. They think it’s impossible to hang out with Happiness all the time, but they think they could have you around a lot more.

How do you feel about that? Being in high demand? Being wanted in high doses for long periods of time?

I’m a bit different from my clients. I’m not striving for you. Maybe this is because most of my life was a lot of pain. That makes it sound like I was born into some awful life circumstances. I wasn’t. I was just born with an autistic mind, but didn’t know it. Trying to shove myself into neurotypical expectations was difficult. I had no tools or strategies to deal with my overwhelming sensory perceptions, emotions, or thoughts.

So really, I wasn’t asking for Contentment or Happiness. I was asking for less pain. I just wanted to reach neutral territory.

Now that I know I’m autistic, I feel I actually have reached neutral territory. Even though you and I don’t talk much, we’re around each other a lot now. I feel like you and I hang out a lot without really noticing each other. We run in the same circles and are around each other, but I seldom stop to notice, “Oh hey, there’s Contentment.”

A circular patterned, multicolored mandala by artist Jackie Schuld.
Art by Jackie Schuld

I apologize for not taking the time to pause and be more present in your presence. I know it doesn’t feel good to be unseen. So, let me stop and say that I see you in my life. I’m glad you’re here. However, I’m not making you the idol of my life. I don’t want to strive after one thing. I don’t really want to strive at all. I’d like to just enjoy being.

That’s not always possible though. I have my moments. Which is probably why it’s all the more important to notice when you are present.

You know who I do notice a lot more? Satisfaction. I think you two are probably best friends. For some reason, I tend to acknowledge Satisfaction more. I am incredibly satisfied with my life. In fact, I am thrilled beyond measure. Things are happening that I never even dreamed. I’m running my own business, I make enough money to take care of myself, and I’ve met someone I genuinely enjoy and love.

I feel many things about all of that. Joy. Surprise. Excitement. Nervousness. Shock.

Maybe that’s why I don’t singularly notice you or strive for you. I feel so many things at once that it feels silly to strive for just one thing.

Regardless though, I will try to do a better job of acknowledging you. Maybe that’ll keep you coming around more often.

With Contentment,



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