This week I was inspired to write about happiness because it's such an interesting topic to me.
It’s the one thing everyone wants, but it can be incredibly hard to find sometimes.
A deep subject with many moving parts, not all of which are in our control, but a subject worth thinking about nonetheless.
I recently found a note I wrote on happiness with questions like:
- What does it really mean to be happy?
- Is there a difference between happiness and joy?
- Where does pleasure fit in?
Those questions inspired these thoughts about the characteristics of pleasure, joy, and happiness:
- Overall: Feels good in the moment, but usually fades quickly.
- Timeline: Satisfaction is very short-lived and is essentially completely gone as soon as you finish the piece of pie the pleasure is over.
- Nourishment: Temporarily satisfying.
- Outcome: Feels good in the moment.
- How you feel about yourself: Neutral or, sometimes, guilty.
Examples: Scrolling social media apps, binge-watching TV, overeating, etc.
- Overall: Feels good on a more meaningful level and stays with you for a while.
- Timeline: Satisfaction is longer lasting than pleasure. Sometimes, it can act as wings for the rest of your day or week.
- Nourishment: It is noticeably good for the soul.
- Outcome: Feels like time well spent.
- How you feel about yourself: Energized, proud.
Examples: Spending time with friends, working hard on something you care about, creating something meaningful, taking care of your responsibilities, achieving a goal, reading a good book, having a good belly laugh, etc.
- Overall: Feeling good about how things are going and the life choices you’re making.
- Timeline: Is measured over a longer period of time as opposed to how you may feel at a particular moment.
- Nourishment: Feels like a reflection of the soul.
- Outcome: Moves you closer to the best version of yourself.
- How you feel about yourself: Peaceful, content.
Pleasure is something that makes you feel good, but doesn’t necessarily make you feel good about yourself.
Joy is something that makes you feel good and does make you feel good about yourself.
Happiness is the result of showing up in the world as the person you most want to be.
“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed it to make it.” - J.M Barrie
The more life I live, the more I understand that happiness is found in action. Happiness thrives on forward motion.
It’s found by engaging in the work and play that nourishes our soul long-term and shines a light on our highest values.
It’s not complacent and is never fully satisfied with the achievements of yesterday.
True happiness is unconcerned with the shallow pleasures of the moment.
It’s not a feeling trapped in time, it’s the result of time well spent.
Happiness can be found hiding in the work of today and in the hope of tomorrow.
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