2. How do we distinguish between the two?
3. How do they differ in terms of their positive impact on us? And
4. Why is pleasure incapable of bringing us the genuine happiness we yearn for?
There is a difference between pleasure and genuine happiness that I think brings us a lot of confusion and disappointment. The information we get from our society and particularly our media is the notion that if we want to be truly happy we need the latest gadget be it a new car, a trophy partner, a nice house, a vacation, or a particular brand of beer. All these things are offered as the means of achieving happiness but what they actually amount to are short term distractions from the deeper human yearning for genuine happiness.
Genuine happiness moves us at a very deep level. It occurs when a friend comforts and encourages us after we’ve faced a significant setback or loss in our life, it occurs when we witness the birth of our child or achieve a major milestone in our life that we thought we were incapable of achieving. Genuine happiness is about deep meaning, gratitude, and appreciation. It is not something we can buy. It is something we experience through living and struggling, through sacrificing and sweating for it. That is why it is so significant and impactful when it arrives. We know that something special is happening and the quality of that moment changes our life in the most remarkable and fulfilling ways.
There is nothing wrong with pleasure except when we attempt to use it as a substitute for genuine happiness. Pleasure is not the same as genuine happiness and it cannot bring us the deep satisfaction we experience from genuine happiness. Human beings yearn for the warmth and richness of genuine happiness and all the stuff in the world cannot satisfy this deep longing. To be genuinely happy we need to strive towards something we care deeply about and open our hearts to the wonder, appreciation, and gratitude for the people and events that deeply enrich our life. So what do you long for that would bring you the deep and lingering happiness you truly desire?