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Are You Living For Happiness Or Pleasure? They Are Different!

Are You Living For Happiness Or Pleasure? They Are Different!

Do you live in the moment or are you building long-term happiness? Have you ever decided to go out and try a new activity or buy a new gadget, certain that it will make you happy, only to be disappointed?

So often, we think that a quick pick-me-up, such as a shopping spree or meal at a new restaurant, will revive our enthusiasm for life. However, we often find that we feel just as empty as we did before we left home. If you find yourself always trying to find happiness in the present, it may be time to re-examine your relationship to momentary pleasure and consider taking a long-term approach to happiness instead.

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What is happiness, anyway?

It is important to appreciate the difference between pleasure – which is an immediate positive sensation experienced as a result of a particular activity – and happiness. Happiness is a state that persists across time, whereas pleasure is more fleeting in nature.

You feel pleasure when you eat a delicious meal, receive a massage, or enjoy a few extra hours of sleep on a Sunday morning.

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Happiness is a global evaluation of your life as it stands, and it also offers a sense of hope for the future. Happiness may come from achieving a meaningful goal and reflecting on the steps you had to take to attain it, like building a long-term romantic relationship or undertaking a period of spiritual growth, for example.

Laying the foundations for future happiness is often hard work that brings little to no pleasure. Consider the following list of things that bring us long-term happiness, but often cause more pain than pleasure on a minute-by-minute basis:

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Things that bring long term happiness though it can cause pain at the moment

  • Working hard to get into shape and improve your health
  • Working through difficulties in a relationship to strengthen it over the long-term
  • Working at a challenging job in order to gain a better quality of life and professional achievements
  • Renovating an old property in order to create a beautiful family home for years to come
  • Budgeting carefully to save well for a happy retirement

Equally, many common things we do in pursuit of pleasure do not actually result in happiness over the long term. These include:

Things that bring pleasure but not happiness

  • Eating tasty but unhealthy junk food, which results in poor health and weight gain
  • Procrastinating at work, which may be pleasurable, but can result in an unsatisfying career
  • Playing video games for hours at a time, which impairs productivity
  • Watching television that does little to improve our knowledge or appreciation of the world
  • Buying unnecessary items, like coffee, that give brief pleasure but deplete our finances over time

How should we balance momentary pleasure with true happiness?

There is no need to forsake all momentary pleasure. It is fine to live for the moment some of the time. However, when it becomes detrimental to your overall life progress over a long-term period of time, you need to work harder at striking a balance between long-term happiness and short-term gratification. If you have a gnawing sensation that you are missing out on life and that your goals have been unmet for months or even years, this is a sign that you need to focus on attaining long-term happiness and spend less time in pursuit of short-term pleasure.

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You need to overcome your inability to push through discomfort and move towards what will make you happy over the long haul, even when you would much rather give into your desire for short-term gratification. We all know that working hard will pay off and produce long-lasting happiness, but actually making yourself put in the effort required can be immensely difficult. Anticipate these feelings and learn to take pride in overcoming them. Know that it is normal to resent discomfort, but that the happiest people are willing and able to tolerate psychological discomfort.

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    Jay Hill

    Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

    5 Powerful Ways for Building Fulfilling Relationships

    We all have relationships. We have acquaintances, relatives, colleagues, neighbors and friends. However, for a large percentage of us, many of these relationships are not fulfilling.

    They are unfulfilling because they lack real strength; and they lack real strength because they lack real depth.

    Unfortunately, in today’s society, we tend to have shallow, superficial relationships with others, and it’s extremely hard for this kind of relationships to provide anything more than faint satisfaction.

    I’d like to show you, based on my experience as a communication and confidence coach, how you can add a significant amount of depth, and thus strength, to your relationships and make your social life a whole lot more meaningful.

    Here’re 5 simple yet powerful ways for meaningful relationships building:

    1. Meet More People

    This is an apparent paradox, but the quality of the people you meet has considerably to do with the quantity of people you meet.

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    If you don’t know a lot of people and you barely meet one or two new people every season of the year, considering the variety of individuals out there, you won’t meet very often people who are a good match with you in terms of personality, interests and values.

    And since this natural match plays a huge part in building strong relationships, you’ll just as seldom have the opportunity to develop strong relationships.

    Conversely, if you go out a lot, you meet a lot of new people and you constantly expand your social circle, you’re much more likely to meet people you match up well with, and these people have a tremendous potential to become good friends, reliable partners, etc.

    This is why it’s important to meet more people.

    2. Talk about the Things That Matter To You

    A relationship becomes the strongest when two people discover they believe in the same things and have similar interests. It’s these commonalities regarding values and interests that create the strongest emotional connection.

    I’ve noticed that many people keep conversations shallow. They talk about trivial stuff such as the weather, what’s on TV, the lives of various movie stars, but they rarely talk about what really matters to them in life. This is a mistake from my perspective, because it’s the perfect method for a relationship to not develop.

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    Talk about the things that truly matter to you and give others a chance to know what you care about and what you believe in. If they believe in the same things and they care about the same things, they’ll eagerly let you know. Thus you’ll find meaningful common ground and you’ll feel more connected.

    3. Express Vulnerability

    Many people try to come off as perfect. They don’t talk about their failures, they hide their shortcomings and they never say anything that could embarrass them.

    This is all just a facade though. You may appear perfect to some, but you know you’re not perfect and they know that too. You’re only human and humans have flaws.

    However, by hiding your flaws, what you do succeed in is appearing cold and impersonal. You seem like a marble statue rather than a real person. And this makes it very hard for anyone to connect with you emotionally.

    Humans connect with other humans, not with ideals. Keep this in mind and don’t be afraid to let your vulnerability and your humanity show. This is what takes a relationship to the next level.

    Take a look at this article and find out Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength.

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    4. Have Integrity

    Integrity, as I see it, is the alignment between your thoughts, your words and your actions. When you say what you think and you do what you said you’ll do, you have integrity.

    This is a crucial trait because if you have integrity, people can trust you. They can trust you to give them an honest feedback, even when it’s hard to shallow, and they can trust you to keep your promises.

    This trust is one of the central pillars of a strong relationship, both in your personal and your professional life. So, as challenging as it can be sometimes, always try to have integrity.

    Be honest with the people around you, even when this will initially hurt them. It’s more important for them to trust you than to not feel hurt. And always do what you promised. Even better, think twice before you promise anything, and only promise what you really can and you are willing to do.

    5. Be There for Others

    Another central pillar of strong relationships is support. Connections between people grow sturdy if they can rely on each other for support when it’s needed, whether that support means a few kind words or several massive actions.

    Of course, you can’t be there for everybody, all the time. Your time, energy and other resources are limited. But what you can do is identify the genuinely important people in your life and then seek to be there as much as possible, at least for them.

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    Your support will help them practically, and it will comfort them emotionally; which makes one hell of a difference in a relationship.

    The Bottom Line

    With the right mindset and the right behavior, you can strengthen a wide range of relationships in your life and advance them as far as they can be advanced.

    And with strong relationships, not only that you feel more fulfilled, but you feel more connected to the entire world. You feel that your life has real value, you have more fun and you live in the moment. An entire world of opportunities opens up in front of you.

    Then your task is to simply walk through the open doors.

    More About Effective Communication

    Featured photo credit: Proxyclick Visitor Management System via unsplash.com

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