This buzzword seems to be everywhere we turn, littering magazines, books and conversations with supposed formulae for achieving happiness, as if it were a noun rather than a verb.
Subsequently, it has become synonymous with expectations, success vs. failure and fearful striving.
Whether we are trying to lose that extra 7 pounds on the promise that this weight loss will make us happy, online dating to find the partner that will make us happy, or focusing all our efforts on earning the amount of money that we believe will make us happy, the motivation is the same.
Therefore, it can be useful to understand that there are 3 fundamental types of happiness.
The immediate rush of happiness.
Pleasure is transient, we cannot hold onto this feeling for anything longer than a few moments, so enjoy these precious moments for what they are – fleeting, wonderful and a brief glimpse into our fully present aliveness.
The slow-burner of the happiness world.
A quieter, subtler sense of happiness that often occurs after completing a challenging task and is coupled with a sense of pride and relief. For this reason, we can sometimes allow satisfaction to pass quickly, barely recognising its appearance, but why not feast on this happiness for a little longer, we deserve it!
The long-term, sturdy feeling.
We often believe that arranging our external world according to our perceived criteria for happiness – the requisite relationship, career, body etc – we will feel content.
This mentality is totally understandable when we realise it’s the entire basis for the marketing industry. Companies make money from encouraging us to feel that if we use this new miracle product, eat this food or use this service then we will be happy (and more importantly, they prey on our fears that if we don’t have x, y or z then we will be unhappy).
But unfortunately, this is the wrong way around. Yes, these conditions can provide us with short-term happiness, but trying to find lasting happiness (AKA contentment) using this strategy leads to disappointment, dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Only by feeling content and peaceful in ourselves can we feel contentment with our lives.
It makes sense. If we feel content inside then we don’t require what is happening around us to make us happy. Therefore we put less emphasis and pressure on those external circumstances. And when we come from a place of wanting rather than needing something, we can enjoy it for what it is, whatever that may be. We become selective in what we do, whom we see and where we go. And guess what, this makes us more content!
So, next time you find yourself feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with life, keep in mind that “man is only unhappy because he does not realise he is happy”.
Name: Rachel Willis