I have arrived at an interesting dilemma. I wrote a while ago on the subject the Pursuit of Happiness and at the time I felt very in-tune and happy with what I said.
However I recently ventured into the subject of happiness as part of a presentation I did to a business group and it opened up a whole can of worms and a very interesting discussion.
From the comments of the group there appears to be conflict between the two words – happiness vs contentment.
In fact about 60% of the group believed they were very content with their life but their contentment didn’t necessarily leave them feeling happy as such.
Where did this leave me in my quest to help people to feel happy right now with the life they are leading?
After I left the meeting I felt compelled to research the two words and their meanings with the hope of arriving at a point of clarity.
My research wasn’t as helpful as I expected it to be.
Searching the Internet brought me various conclusions depending on which one of our two words any particular writer felt reflected their life. Did they feel happy with life or content with life?
I checked out dictionary definitions and as you would expect they do tend to agree with one another, but did that help?
For me, yes it did, it helped me to redefine my own conclusions on the subject which are…
The two words are like the chicken and egg scenario. Which one comes first?
Does happiness bring contentment?
Does contentment bring happiness?
And I think the answer to both the questions is yes depending on the person you ask.
But the most important difference to me was not about which comes first, but how these two emotions leave us as an individual and my conclusion is this…
Contentment is a very much an inner feeling, something in the mind, that can described as a satisfied state, acceptance of what one has with no particular desire for more, a tranquil inner feeling with little or no outward indicators.
Happiness on the other hand is a combination of feeling grateful for what one already has plus a degree of inner content, but at the same time having the desire for more, especially in terms of personal growth.
But for me the most important aspect of happiness as opposed to contentment is that there are outward indicators.
It could be a smile, a spring in your step, a cheerful greeting to everyone you meet. With this comes the strong possibility that you can lift someone else’s life just by the aura of happy thoughts and feelings that shine from you.
But as with all our thoughts and emotions we have a choice I have decided my choice on a daily basis is to be happy.
But what about you? Do you have thoughts on these two words? And what effect do they have on your life?
And what choice do you make everyday – to be content or to happy?
“Your Habits Control Your Life – But You Control Your Habits
You Can Take Back Control of Your Life”