Everyone is searching for the secret of contentment. I don't mean the secret to becoming fabulously rich, incredibly good-looking, or wildly successful in a career. The search I'm talking about is for enduring contentment, the kind of deep-down, soul-satisfying contentment that infuses your life with peace and serenity, gives you the freedom and energy to express yourself and follow your dreams despite what others may think, and allows you to fall asleep at night without fretting about what might have been.


The secret of contentment lies in discovering who in the world you are and mobilizing your courage to be that person. I call that being "authentic." I've uncovered six steps that I believe are key to helping you stake a claim to the contented life you deserve.


1. Get in Touch With Your Pain


This pain refers to everything in a person's life that is experienced as a periodic or chronic problem-things that are off track; things that set them on edge. Some pain is obvious; other pain has to be looked for as you would search for a hidden malignant tumor in a person's body.


Pain is virtually always a clear signal from deep within that something in your life needs to be changed. It provides all kinds of information useful in your quest to become more authentic.


2. Find Out Who Occupies Your Control Booth


Do you sense that you stand alone at the center of your own control booth? For many, their spouse or parents occupy their control booth. They are literally not in charge of their own decision making process. Take the time to honestly assess whether all areas of your life are under your control. Your contentment depends on it.


3. Get Yourself Loved-Really Loved


You have to be engulfed by an unconditional love that ensures your emotional security under all circumstances. Without this kind of love, your fear will be too great.


Many people live their entire lives only experiencing "conditional" love.  "I will love you if you are THIS." "I will love you if you treat me like THIS."


"Unconditional" means that it is a freely given love. It assures you that your value and worth will never diminish-regardless of what happens to you. It offers total emotional security.


This is the love that is at the center of a relationship with God. I need to know that my worth and value remain secure even if everyone turns against me. I need to have enormous trust and I only have this trust in God.


4. Carefully Examine All Your Data Sources