Would you consider yourself happy?
When you wake up in the morning are you content with the day and your life?
If not then keep reading…
Are You Seeking Happiness Or Pleasure?
I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Art of Happiness’ by the Dalai Lama and this subject is brought up.
How often do you find yourself going out every weekend, spending all your time playing video games or binge-watching Netflix, doing whatever you can just to feel happy?
Well, are you sure that’s happiness and not pleasure? Happiness is a feeling of contentment.
It’s a constant state of being not a temporary moment of joy. Whereas that’s exactly what pleasure is. You feel pleasure for a short amount of time and then afterward you go back to a lower baseline of happiness.
Why Can’t You Seek Pleasure And Happiness?
One of the biggest reasons that it’s hard to have pleasure and happiness is because a lot of pleasurable activities don’t bring happiness in the long run.
Partying at the weekend will bring you pleasure at the moment. But if you do that every weekend you’re going to damage your body, end up getting into a cycle of hating the week just waiting for the weekend, and wishing all your time away.
Think of it on a smaller scale. If you eat a whole bar of chocolate you’re going to feel joy in that one moment. Your body is going to feel bloated, you’ll be lethargic, you’ll feel unhealthy. So ultimately, it doesn’t bring you happiness.
How To Choose Happiness Over Pleasure…
Okay, you probably already have some idea this happens anyway. But you still choose pleasure over happiness.
This is because when you’re considering whether you should do what’s going to make you happy or bring you pleasure.
If you say no to the pleasure, you’re taking something away from yourself and gaining nothing right?
Well, here’s how to fix that. Instead of telling yourself, you need to sacrifice pleasure now instead ask yourself: “Is this ultimately going to lead to my happiness?”
By doing this you re-frame what’s being taken away from you.
Now instead of having your pleasure being taken away, for what seems like no reason, you offer yourself a choice you can either choose momentary pleasure or lasting happiness.
This Doesn’t Mean Avoid Pleasure Altogether…
You’re only on this planet once. It’s good to go out every once in awhile, it’s fine to eat a whole bar of chocolate just because you want to or binge watch Netflix.
As long as it’s the exception and not the rule! Do it every once in a while but don’t make a habit of it. Just remember that behavior that is aimed towards seeking pleasure is not going to bring you ultimate happiness.
Ultimate Happiness Is A State Of Mind…
If you want ultimate happiness then you need to find it within yourself. As long as all your basic needs are met you can find happiness.
Think of people you’ve seen in poorer countries when you’ve been on holiday. Some of them were probably happier than you! This is because they have the right state of mind.
They’re not comparing themselves to people who have better things than they do! And in Western culture, we’ve all been taught to do that.
“He earns more money than me”
“She’s got a better job than me”
“They’re better looking than me”
There’s always going to be something, and even worse than these thoughts are…
“If I just had more…”
When you find yourself saying this in your head this is the biggest warning sign. This is the phrase that is going to ALWAYS leave you unhappy. I know from experience.
I used to tell myself this constantly. As shallow as it is, it was girls for me. I’d tell myself if I just slept with another girl I’d be more confident, I’d be happier, that I would have proved myself as a man.
It was always one more… one more… But it’s never going to be enough, whatever it is you want more of.
You’re always going to want more money, you’re always going to want more friends, you’re always going to want more fancy things in your life, you’re always going to want more girls. If you always follow the path of ‘more more more’ you’re only going to get hungrier and hungrier. And less happy.
Why Not Just Be Grateful Instead?
Instead of looking at what you don’t have, why not be grateful for the things you do have?
If you want to be happy it starts with gratefulness. Be grateful that you’ve woken up this morning, 1000’s of people haven’t.
Be grateful that you live in a country that isn’t war-torn, 1000’s of people don’t. Hell, be grateful you can go downstairs and drink water out of a tap, 1000’s of people can’t even do that!
And if you find yourself comparing yourself to someone who has something you want, start thinking about people on the other end of the spectrum. There are people who would love what you’ve got.
A healthy body, a loving family, a roof over your head, whatever it is, know that you have so much to be grateful for. And remember it. Stop looking for more and be content with what you have.
Remember, This Is Going To Take Time…
It takes time to start changing habits and this is a habit that’s going to take time to change as well. And it’s going to be something you struggle with, we all struggle with avoiding things that are great at the moment but ultimately lead to unhappiness.
However, if you think this makes sense to you and changing is for the best, then you should definitely start working towards seeking happiness instead of pleasure. It will work out better for you in the long run!