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Contentment is the acknowledgement and satisfaction of reaching capacity. the level of capacity reached may be sought after, expected, desired, or simply predetermined as the level in which provides contentment. contentment may be considered as synonymous with happiness but is more basic or prior to happiness that can be derived from outer achievement or self-improvement. for this reason, colloquially, contentment is simply a way of accepting one's life state and being grateful or happy with it. many see contentment as an attitude towards situations. it may even be argued that this attitude of contentment leads to more positive outcomes as a result of the relaxation that goes with being contented. michael c. graham writes extensively about contentment as a form of happiness. in a somewhat more mystical sense, contentment can be understood as an innate state before any intellectual judgement about life situations has entered into the picture. perhaps this is why little children are generally happy until their intellectual powers - such as their ability to judge what is good from bad and being trained to hold on to concepts - begin to form and then their mental and emotional stresses begin to emerge. contentment can also have to do with self-actualization, the satisfaction of reaching one's full potentials but this quest is often attended by haphazard striving, suffering and incompleteness given the complex nature of being human and the lack of a lucid and total system of self-actualization. a sense of security provided by family or society can also contribute to contentment. contentment derived from such an outer-provided sense of security may well be a case of innate contentment welling up when anxiety - about meeting essential needs - is no longer present to block it. in all, a distinction ought to be made between contentment arrived through self-fulfillment via self-actualization and outer achievement versus contentment as an attitude and as an innate state.