The world seems to be obsessed with finding and maintaining happiness, we call it the pursuit of happiness.
If happiness is something we have to achieve, we will find ourselves continually chasing happiness. We will never reach our goal.
To be content, however, is entirely different.
I believe if you strive for contentment, balance, instead of the chase of happiness, you free your mind to focus on living a more meaningful life, a life that matters, not a life in pursuit.
When every day, every thought, is centered around what you think will bring happiness, you will quickly find that it is never enough.
Happiness is elusive, it is always on the move.
This is because after having a happy moment, our brains must come back down to our homeostasis [our natural state of being].
If we trick our brains over and over that these temporary ‘happy moments’ [such as eating at a restaurant, getting new furniture or clothes, or vacationing], are how we are always supposed to feel, then coming back to our homeostasis [natural state of being] may begin to feel like a loss…
Thus triggering us to pursue more feelings of happiness.
You get that job you were looking for thinking it will make you happy, after two years the same job makes you miserable.
You study for that profession, thinking that it will make you happy, when you qualify, you realise that actually, you like something else that has nothing to do with what you studied for.
You buy that expensive car hoping that it will make you happy and will earn you the respect and admiration of your peers, two years later, the latest model is released and then you are unhappy with your current one, because you want the new model.
You leave a stable relationship, chasing the thrill of the one that looks exciting on the outside, hoping that it will make you happy, after a while, you realise that actually, you left a stable relationship behind that kept you sane and content.
I believe the moment you stop chasing happiness, you become happy.
Happiness is a by-product of being content.
You have to be content first, before you are truly and sustainably happy.
Happiness without being content is very hard to sustain.
As a result being content should come before happiness.
Being content leads to happiness, but happiness does not lead to being content.
If we are content with ourselves and able to accept who we are while in our natural state of being, we will have more time and energy to live and experience life, in both its delightful and inglorious moments.
It does not mean we cannot have goals for a better or different lifestyle, but it is important to find contentment no matter your situation.
Even if you have nothing, you can enjoy a sunrise.
Even if you have no one, you can partake in conversation with a stranger.
Even if you get no attention, you can be comfortable in your own company.
So look around, breath the air, listen, and dig in your heart for something to be grateful for.
Embrace contentment, and you will never have to chase happiness again.