The term ‘happiness’ is thought to have two very different meanings. Usually it refers to a feeling: a sense of pleasure, gladness or gratification. Happy is a nice feeling to experience so it’s no wonder we find ourselves in pursuit of it.
Yet, like all our other feelings, feelings of happiness don’t last. No matter how hard we try to hold on to them, they slip away every time, and it seems that a life spent in pursuit of it is unsatisfying. A common cliché is happiness isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.
The other meaning of happiness is ‘a rich, full and meaningful life’.
When we are clear on what we value, and where we want to go in life, and when we feel connected to what really matters to us and willing to take the steps needed to get to where we want to go, our lives become richer and more meaningful. Unlike that temporary feeling of being happy, this is more long lasting, something that you can reflect on at the end of the day and say ‘well, today was a hard day, but at least I know where I’m going.’ We won’t always feel happy and undoubtedly if we do follow the path of our dreams then it’s likely we will experience sadness, fear, anger and disappointment, but this can only be expected from living a fulfilled life. When we shut ourselves off to these other emotions, we also shut off our ability to experience the full extent of joy.