Saturday, February 12, 2011

Are you truly happy? Or just content?

My dearest friend, Hayley, and I were out to dinner the other night and got talking about how people force their happiness.  How happy are you?  Do you force yourself and attempt to make yourself think that you are happy?  Or perhaps, you are content, but not necessarily happy.  But why settle with contentment?

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I can now openly admit that there was a time where I faked my smile and made myself believe that I was actually happy thinking that would fool those I was surrounded by that I was happy.  I will never forget asking my therapist if I would ever be happy, truly happy.  I even question what happiness was, did it even exist?  Or could I just settle with being content and by being content would I really be satisfied?  I had moment where I thought that nothing would ever be good enough for me.  I worried that if I "settled" then there would be something I would miss out on.  After two years of working with my dearest therapist (God, I love her!) I said in a session that I love the feeling of happiness.  I was not only content with my life, but I was HAPPY!  Who would have thought! I certainly believed I would never see the day!

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After doing some research on happiness vs. contentment my results were quite intriguing.  There are some people who believe that the two are exactly the same, and there are others that that think contentment is greater to posses than happiness.  I may not agree with those thoughts and then again people may not agree to my beliefs.  We all have our own opinions and that is what makes life interesting....

I came across a this one particular person's contribution of happiness vs. contentment on Angelfire.com
I wanted to share it and I have also added some comments in red through out the explanation.
"Happiness is something that comes and goes (I beg to differ). It is about excitement, fun, moments, actions, and material things. Contentment is something that lasts (And why can't happiness last?). It's about going with the flow, enjoying the satisfaction of work, and appreciating nature and life. Selfish people tend to strive for happiness and are less content (Really?). People who strive to be content tend to be more patient, caring, and happier. You can find happiness in money, pleasure, and doing what you want. You can find contentment in religion, family, giving, making other people happy, hard work, education, and exercise (But can't you also find happiness in these things as well?). Also, when you are content, your happy times are happier and your sadness is less sad. Self-indulgence makes you happy. Sacrifice makes you content.

A less obvious way of becoming content is your environment. Try to avoid negative people, depressing music, staying indoors too long, not getting enough sleep. All these things can make a person unhealthy and depressed
(I agree). One thing that I have experienced personally is the color of your walls. Darker wall colors make a person less content. I suggest white walls with a colorful trim (Who knew we were also getting interior design advise - O.K. now I am getting a little fresh..). Watch less TV. All that violence and apathy really tick at a person's mind.

You may not see the difference between contentment and happiness, or you may think the ways of becoming content are stupid. I'm not demanding that you paint your house, stop watching TV, go outside more, read more, and go to church. You may not even notice a difference if you do. But I am suggesting these things, because believe it or not they really do make a difference."
(Ah, a good way to end this.)

I think that my happiness and my contentment now go hand in hand with one another....Now, what are you feeling?  Where are you in your life with happiness and being content?

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