IS CONTENTMENT DIFFERENT TO HAPPINESS? AND IF SO, HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?
Is contentment different to happiness? And if so, how are they different?
I believe they are; and to help explain why I started by looking up the meaning of both words.
Contentment is described as:-
– Happiness with one’s life situation
– A peaceful kind of happiness in which one rests without desires, even though every wish may not have been gratified.
Happiness is described as:-
– Pleasure, joy, exhilaration, bliss, delight, enjoyment, satisfaction and contentedness.
– Results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good.
Already we see both words used to describe the other, however what is also apparent is that contentment is long term and a state of mind (…which rests without desires,..) and happiness is short term and an emotion (…possession or attainment of…).
Something that further demonstrates this difference is the dictionary definition of the opposite meanings.
Discontentment is the opposite of contentment – A longing for something better than the present situation, and again a state of mind.
Misery is the opposite of happiness – A short term and powerful emotion.
In my view, contentment is a very important state to attain in life. Only the happiness felt in presence of contentment is perfect happiness.
I like to think of contentment and happiness as the difference between a smile and laughter.
Contentment is a genuine smile. It does not require any “input” from the world outside of you. It completely comes from within.
Happiness, on the other hand, is of the moment and can be captured as laughter. It requires input from the outside world, for example; laughter requires a joke be said.
So in summary;
– Only when one first learns to smile in every situation, can one truly enjoy the laugh too. One who only knows to laugh, will be depressed when there’s no one tell a joke!
The ideal is to be in perfect happiness, which is when you are experiencing happiness, and at the same time deep inside you are also contented.
So why aim for both happiness and contentment?
Well, happiness is important to MAKE life liveable. And contentment is important to KEEP life liveable. So as happiness is a function of emotion, and contentment is a function of intellect, when emotions and intellect are balanced, it’s true intelligence.
You might also now understand how it is said that happiness comes from within. The same thing is contentment. It so happens that when you are contented deep inside, you can find something to extract happiness from in every moment, in every situation. It doesn’t mean you don’t wish for anything more, but when life is tough, that can’t affect you much.
Contentment is being present in the moment and accepting it wholeheartedly for what it is. Happiness is the joy that comes from that acceptance that leaves you free to laugh at whatever comes your way.
Wishing you all a contenteded mindset and all the happiness that comes your way.
Smile and laugh at will!