How to Stop Waiting For Happiness (Hint: you can find it today)
Does this sound like you?
“When I (fill in the blank)…I will be happy.”
If you answered yes, I want you to think about this next question.
Are you really ever happy for long?
In a society that reinforces pleasure at every turn, it’s easy to feel like we can never find true happiness. We search…and search…and search. Waiting for happiness.
We spend our lives stuck in the belief that we will be happy at some point… some time in the future.
Unfortunately, when the future arrives, we prolong that date to the next best moment. As a result, the cycle continues and we never truly find the happy state that we seek.
So just why does this happen?
The answer isn’t as complex as it would seem. In fact, it’s pretty simple.
We confuse happiness with pleasure. And until we learn to understand the difference between the two, we can not find true happiness.
You see, pleasure and happiness are two very different things. However, they’re pretty easy to confuse. That’s where we get stuck.
Pleasure is linked to desire, and arises in response to having a specific desire fulfilled.
It can be the desire for anything -from making more money to eating that piece of chocolate cake you so desperately crave. Pleasure is a temporary thing that fades. It’s an “in the moment” response.
Happiness, on the other hand, is a state of contentment not based on desire.
It is rooted in the present moment. Future desires and needs are not contingent on how happy we are right now. We can be happy at any time or place.
So pleasure is a short term thing. But happiness is a constant.
The confusion comes in that these two concepts are not related, but we often think they are.
So is there anything wrong with pleasure? Absolutely not (as long as it does not cause harm to ourselves or others).
The thing that we must understand is that need to seek happiness as a constant state aside from pleasure.
To do this, we must learn to see pleasure for what it is. Pleasure is simply a short term, positive feeling. It is not right or wrong.
The problem is that we tend to cling to pleasure.
Everyone does this. We don’t want to lose that good feeling. This is why we always want more of whatever it is that makes us feel good.
The key to detaching from this need for more is to understand its temporary and fading nature. It isn’t constant. It will go away.
Therefore, we must enjoy whatever it is that gives us pleasure- and then let it go.
This isn’t easy to do. In fact, it can be downright difficult.
You see, even when we realize that pleasure isn’t happiness, we still tend to believe that happiness comes from external conditions and situations.
In part, this is because everything (including us) is impermanent. In addition, our thoughts still lead us to believe that happiness is something you can get from somewhere, sometime in the future.
This is where mindfulness comes into play.
Happiness is found in understanding that we can only inhabit the present moment.
We can only find the true happiness that we seek right here, right now. It isn’t some place, somewhere in the future. It’s already here.
Happiness is simple, silent, and subtle. It is there-hiding in the wings. It is within you today.
To your mindfulness,