What Happiness Looks Like

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”
~Aristotle

If I were to ask you, “Are you happy?” What would you say? Chances are your answer would be, “Yes, but … there’s just one thing!” 

That one thing makes all the difference. It’s something that you don’t have now, but you believe that when you have it you’ll be happy.

What is that one thing for you?

Maybe it’s a new car? Job security? Owning your own home? A partner? A baby? A successful business? Maybe you’ll be happy when you complete the project you’ve been working on for months? What about paying off the mortgage or the credit card debt?

The truth is, there will always be one thing. Something you don’t have. Something you believe will make you happy. And as long as you’re dependent on “that one thing” for your happiness, you’ll never be happy NOW.

Two Kinds of Happiness

Temporary Happiness

Temporary happiness is gained when you fulfil a desire. For example, you have a desire for a new pair of shoes. You check how much money you’ve got. It isn’t quite enough. So you put your purchase on hold.

A week later you’ve earned enough money to get the shoes. You fulfil your desire and you’re happy, for a while. Then, almost immediately you create another desire–an outfit to go with the shoes!

The pursuit of external happiness is endless.

What’s important to remember is that when we have a desire for something that we don’t have our mind becomes restless. This restlessness equates to unhappiness.

Lasting Happiness

Lasting happiness is gained through discipline. Discipline at all levels of our personality–physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual.

Self-Discipline

“What is pleasant in the beginning is unpleasant in end, and what is unpleasant in the beginning is pleasant in the end.” ~Vyasa

An undisciplined life is an unhappy life.

People who like to laze about and not exercise, or like eat lots of fast food, may find it a pleasure in the beginning, but in the end their undisciplined lifestyle is highly detrimental–obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems, etcetera.

On the other hand, to exercise is extremely painful and unpleasant, especially when you haven’t exercised for a while, but after some time, and consistent effort, the pain transforms into an enjoyable and beneficial experience. One that you wouldn’t do without.

Eating healthy food can be unappetising at first, but after a while you enjoy the freshness so much that you wonder why you didn’t change your habits earlier.

The sooner we realise that self-discipline gives us what we are searching for in life–health, peace of mind and happiness–the sooner we will embrace it. It’s just a matter of working through the initial discomfort.

Jim Rohn once said, “There are two pains in life: the pain of discipline and the pain of regret.”

I know which one I choose. How about you?

Thanks for reading. And remember…

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness (and knowledge) never decreases by being shared.” ~Buddha

Please share this article with family and friends. Thank you. 

Image Credit: Shelby Ann Gill

About Meredith Forder

Meredith is a writer, speaker, Self awareness mentor and the founder of Clear Thinking. She spends her time helping people discover their purpose and realise their potential, so that they can live happy and fulfilled lives. For more information please visit: http://meredithforder.com/