Have we been sold a lemon by advertisers who propose that happiness can be bought? And is happiness really all it’s cracked up to be?
We had mates over the other night for dinner and pondered these questions over pizza.
My girlfriend said something that stuck with me. “I spend so much bloody time in the pursuit of happiness, that I end up feeling short-changed when it arrives. It’s so fleeting in comparison to all that waiting“.
Good point, I reckon.
Happiness is annoying. Despite what marketers may have us believe, it is temporary. Being happy is simply unsustainable. Once we have what we believe we want, we start the search all over again for something new.
We chase happiness (isn’t it exhausting?!). We buy happiness (isn’t it expensive?!). Then we work harder – which doesn’t make us happy – in order to chase and pay for more things that temporarily make us happy. It’s a not-so-merry merry-go-round.
The true blessing is in happiness’s lesser-known cousin – contentment.
You can be content for a lot longer than you can be happy.
With contentment comes peace, acceptance, and love.
When you are content, you are calm. You feel like you have enough. That the world is abundant, and that you lack for nothing.
But with happiness, you are always reaching for something. Happiness is very needy. Happiness is a high maintenance lover.
We want things in order to MAKE us happy.
But we can simply BE content. And is there anything more enjoyable for your soul than just BEING?
Happiness is conditional… Happiness lives in the future. When I have XYZ, then I will be happy.
Contentment is here. It is now. It is real. And it’s usually unconditional. With contentment, you can breathe.
So this holiday season, I don’t want you to be happy. I want you to be content. To be grateful.
Actually, I take that back.
I do want you to be happy. I want you to be happy for what you have. Take a look around you; surrounded by the people who love you, with amazing food on your plate, your health, and your blessing to live in a peaceful nation. Look around you, and in this precise moment, be happy.
This momentary happiness will bring you the bigger gift that is contentment, and that is my holiday wish for everyone.