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Happiness Or Contentment?

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  • Happiness Or Contentment?

    Is it better to be happy or content? I think some of the times I've been most miserable is when I'm trying to make myself be happy. I don't know if maybe it's a western thing or what, but I think we assume if we're not happy all the time then something must be wrong, either with ourselves or our situation.

    I've found that for myself contentment is far more preferable. For one thing is less emotionally exhausting for me. Less physically exhausting too, now that I think about it. When I'm content I'm much more likely to be able to drift into a blissful sleep at the end of the day, have an easier time concentrating on the tasks at hand, have a better appetite...probably some other stuff too. With happiness comes a state of excitement that, for me, mimics some of the effects of anxiety. And I have had lots of problems with anxiety in my adult life.

    Happiness is also unsustainable. It's kind of like an orgasm, or maybe laughing at a joke. Once you stop laughing is it because the joke is no longer funny? Expecting to be happy at all times is like expecting sex to be an enormous 10 minute orgasm, or expecting to laugh uncontrollable whenever you hear the same joke you've heard time and again.

    There's a sense of satisfaction and peace that I feel when I am content. I've made significant progress, I think, in just accepting things for what they are; I still have to work at reminding myself not to worry about things I can't control, however. And I figure I always will.

    That doesn't make me happy, but I've accepted that's the way that I am.

  • #2
    Contentment Please......Contentment Has "Depth"........Happiness Is But "Fleeting"......

    Cheers Glen.


    • #3
      i'm not sure that i differentiate the two as much as you do. if i'm truly content, to me that constitutes happiness.

      if you mean happiness as a particular state of euphoria that only happens during unusually positive events, then i suppose that is preferable. sure, it won't last long, but at the moment it doesn't get much better. and unless it ends badly, it just fades into contentedness anyway.

      contentment is also easier. not that that's necessarily a bad thing. but i'm thinking about all the potheads who are content to sit on their dingy couch and play video games all day every day, while never doing anything to improve their lives. i don't want to judge, and i've spent significant time living that lifestyle myself. but it seems like it's better to aim for happiness, and be content with contentment when you're taking a break on the way there.


      • #4
        I think happiness is a spectrum, sometimes you feel happy, content, sad, frustrated, etc, it's always in flux


        • #5
          Years ago, I thought that happiness was possible... I also thought I was happy as in Really Happy With Life a few times. Upon looking back, even though those "happy times" did not continue, that does not negate those feelings I had at that time.

          All of that being said...I think if I ever get really "happy" again, something is up. Something up and I probably need either different meds or I've gone off what I'm taking. Happiness is truly fleeting at best, and only the beginning of a downward spiral at worst.

          I AM content, and that is what I want to be. Things could (definitely) be better, but in considering all options, I'm content for sure....and I'm happy with that.


          • #6
            Here's A Good Example Lynnbrown .....We Here At "Treefarts" May Not Be Happy To Have You As A Member

            Here.....BUT.....We Are Content To Put Up With You.......( you realise exactly how much shit you are in.?.)

            Tee Hee.......

            Cheers Glen.


            • Lynnbrown
              Lynnbrown commented
              Editing a comment

            • Tropical Breeze
              Tropical Breeze commented
              Editing a comment
              As long as she stays off your lawn.

            • Din Djarin
              Din Djarin commented
              Editing a comment
              I also like to live dangerously

          • #7
            alrighty now...@GLEN...... I believe I may have to take a switch to you! ? Then I'm going to tell you how lovely your lovely everything is.


            • #8
              Lynn + Glen


              • Lynnbrown
                Lynnbrown commented
                Editing a comment
                where is an eye-crossed emoji? lol

            • #9
              Interesting idea for a thread. Liking the point of views for either or. Between the two i guess i'll be find with either. Don't really have a preference. Though i would choose gratitude over both.


              • #10
                happiness is an impermanent emotion and it's odd we as a society have been taught to chase happiness when we don't chase other emotions in the same way. Other emotions come and go yet we (general we, societal we) expect to find happiness as a permanent state of being when of course that would be impossible.

                Actually I read something on this last night so just going to share the quote from the book i'm reading -

                "Is the nature of unhappiness different from the nature of happiness? We discriminate between them, but they are not so different as they first appear. When you see the wholeness of reality you will see that there is no difference. The reality is that nothing in the world is absolute or permanent"


                • #11
                  This reminds me a lot of the "Fun" thread. Just saying.

                  it kinda scares me to say this, but I gotta agree with Undies again. Lol
                  No, but in seriousness, I also find the pursuit of happiness something to keep living for, to keep myself going. While I do understand your point, tumbling.dice about feeling the relaxation of contentment...well, crap! Now I'm rethinking this again! I definitely would have agreed more with you a decade ago, for after several years of intense emotions, both highs and lows, as Lynnbrown (check out me name dropping here like mad) touches on in her comment, I did feel so much relieve and peace when I was just content...and the rethinking is because I'm a little concerned about my highs of late getting a bit exhausting...

                  But, after a stretch of like 2 years of depression, I was really ecstatic when I got high/happy again. Actually, I even had my like first pure euphoric moment of my life at that point (I guess that was this past January?? Man, time is blurring), so THAT would be something I'd love to feel for a long time...but it's this high now (or this intense excited state to better describe it), is getting exhausting and like kinda sad at the same time. It's like only the tease of that "perfect" feeling mixed with the disappointment that it could never be.

                  I do think, as Tropical Breeze mentions, that gratitude is an important aspect to happiness and/or contentment, but I don't know that it's the state I most want to strive for. Lol To me gratitude is like a last resort to cope with low feelings...but I guess I do strive to remember gratitude always...i just don't know that it is something I exactly want, but I guess I need it. :P

                  edit: oh yea, and Meliai s quote-well, I agree that nothing is absolute or permanent, but I still think happiness and unhappiness, while both emotions/states of being, are two very different things. Most people would prefer happiness over unhappiness.
                  Last edited by Fun; 07-29-2020, 03:01 AM.


                  • #12
                    I definitely resonate with what you say, Dice, and also Meliai ..

                    I think we've been taught to chase happiness as part of consumerism. If it's not a product, it's an experience.. The belief that the meaning of life is happiness is very exploitable.

                    Not that there is anything wrong with looking for happiness, but the emphasis on it is unhelpful for many reasons. Happiness is, to me, a pleasant side effect.. Not the goal.


                    • #13
                      Incidentally I see no similarity between this and the Fun thread except the subjects might run into each other in conversation, which adds a coherence to the forum i quite like


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Poeticdevices
                        I think happiness is a spectrum, sometimes you feel happy, content, sad, frustrated, etc, it's always in flux
                        I concur, being content is also on the happiness spectrum.

                        I can differentiate between the two in theory just fine. But in reality they often intertwine. I see little use in picking a fav. If life goes alright you experience it all, and as pointed out happiness is not a lasting state.


                        • #15
                          Happiness for sure!

                          I didn't think I could ever achieve a level of happiness after losing my wife Misty 6/2018.
                          I figured it'd be just a contentment life after her death.


                          After a full year of post death grief counseling, 2+ years of receiving life coaching and 1000+ hours of extremely hard work on myself, I have a positive tank full of happiness with extra overflow in reserve storage.

                          I'll never settle or ever lower my standards to Contentment.

                          *Even in my post, Happiness is first and Contentment is dead last*