Happiness Vs Contentment
Happiness is fleeting.
Relatively easy to obtain but even more easily lost
Happiness is a child with an ice cream. It’s lost when they drop it
Happiness is the joy in a flowers vibrancy and scent. It’s lost when they wilt
Happiness is a night of music and dancing with friends and loved ones, lost when the music stops and you come home to an empty apartment in which you feel alone
Happiness is the child racing through the park on their scooter, lost suddenly when they fall off and graze their knee
Happiness is 3 minutes of laughing in the sunshine with your favourite parent friends after drop off, lost when you go your seprate ways to work or chores or errands
Happiness is the wedding day, lost when the honeymoon period ends
Yes, happiness is fleeting yet today we’re all chasing it with a desperation that boarders on the frenzied and we’re actively encouraged to chase happiness in this way by near enough everyone
Happiness has become idolised to bordeline mythical proportions
It isn’t healthy
Auhtor Susan Davies states in her TED talk that Positivity has become a new form of social correctness. She was spot on. Although she gave that talk years ago, people are now just waking up to the concept of “toxic positivity” and it’s such a relief.
Positivities close cousin Happiness however has gone the same way
Happiness has too become a new form of social correctness. The internet is rife with a billion saccharine, throwaway quotes about being happy ( the ones I detest the most are the ones that imply that happiness is a choice). Marketing companies play us like fiddles on our desire to find and hold onto happiness. Ad campaigns are centered around it, tens of thousands of products promise us it in bottles and boxes tied up with ribbons. In this, our current western society, we are brutally shamed for not being happy
Happiness is a giddy high; completely wonderful but all too dependent on external factors. An emotional reaction to outer circumstances and reliant on so many variables
Contentment is better
Contentment should be the dream, not happiness
Contentment is sustainable. Happiness is not.
Content runs far deeper than happy does. Content holds you steady and warm. Content grounds you. Content is reliable, consistent and reassuring. Contentment is inner peace. It’s the stoic captain of the ship, getting the crew through a storm. It’s the roots of the oak tree.
Contentment comes from unconditional love, not the whirlwind blur of a new romance. It comes from self-love, not what others may or may not think of you. Contentment isn’t reliant on external factors in the same way that Happy is, although I would argue that the conditions need to be right in order for contentment to happen. Content is not an emotional response to something outer.
Content can’t be marketed or bottled or sold to you. Contentment is harder to achieve than happy, but is worth it so much more. For those of us with psychological issues (and most of us have them to some degree or another) content requires development on our inner selves. We can be helped and guided in finding contentment by those who love and support and care for us, but fundamentally it comes from within.
Similarly, we can be hindered and prevented from being contented by those close to us who do not support us, those who hurt and damage us and are detrimental to our well being. But in those circumstances there are options; they exist even if we cannot see them. But that’s a topic for another day…
Contentment supports happiness, but happiness can be experienced without it. It just means we feel the loss of it more and the come down is harder
Happiness is a sharp zig-zag that spikes UP then down. Content is a softer, steadier, gentle wave
I have depression.
I have struggled with depression for an entire decade of my adult life. This does not mean however that I have never felt happy during this time
My goodness, I have felt moments of happiness this last decade so intense I thought I’d actually burst!! I almost couldn’t handle it. Soaring, flying highs through the clouds. My heart singing in my chest. Bubbles fizzing. Electricity sparking. But above all, when I’m happy I glow. When I’m really REALLY happy, I glow like a star in the nighttime for all to see and it is utterly wonderful.
It feels like life
But I can tell you now for certain that I am not and have never truly been contented in the long term
Happiness is giving the starving man a fish to feed him. Contentment, for the man in question,is teaching him how to use a fishing rod. He’d be able to feed himself for a lifetime
Ultimately contentment for me is going to take a lot of work on my inner self, and a few tweaks of external factors so the conditions are right for contentment to develop
It’s going to be a long hard slog
But in the end it is going to be so worth it