PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS VS EXPERIENCING JOY
Over the last few months my posts have been focused on Self-Enjoyment with the exception of things I was prompted to share. As usual my exploration of the topic has been enlightening.
In September I defined Self-Enjoyment as ‘Choosing to experience joy in every moment of my day knowing I control this no matter what the situation. Choosing to create and receive joyful experiences ensuring that I feed my soul’.
Well after much reading, personal reflection and experimentation I would now like to revise the definition of Self- Enjoyment as ‘Choosing to experience joy in every moment of my day knowing I control this no matter what the situation and that joy is food for my soul.’
Why the change? The latter part of the definition choosing to create and receive joyful experiences ensuring that I feed my soul in and of itself is what I now see as a pursuit of happiness which at times to be honest can be exhausting. I would prefer to experience joy than pursue happiness.
I know there is a lot of literature out there on the pursuit of happiness or the habits of happy people which I am not bagging at all and am aligned to many principles and recommendations but what if you didn’t have the financial resources, the physical capability, support from loved ones around you, what then?
Choose joy! This quote for me explains the concept of joy.
‘I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, wracked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing’ – Agatha Christie.
I believe that joy is a state that we can all access no matter what challenges life presents we can always use our freewill to experience the silver lining, to be thankful, to see the little miracles around us, to know there is something to learn from the experience and that your soul is evolving, expanding with each challenge. For me it is like a full on workout or remedial massage where your body hurts but you know the pain is good for your overall wellbeing, your healing. The access to joy is present no matter what is happening in our outer world – our relationships, our families, our health, our material possessions, our finances, our physical body….
Happiness is transient. It tends to be triggered by external events based on other people, things, places, thoughts and experiences. It can last for a few minutes, the time taken to sit with the experience of eating a chocolate or listening to an upbeat song. And it can also last for weeks on end, say the beginning of a new romance.
Do you have a tendency to pursue happiness more than choosing joy?
Those of you who are parents would have given your children things or experiences that you believe will bring them happiness. Gifts at Christmas time that in a few months will sit in the playroom or media room with all the other stuff previously purchased …no longer the latest thing or superseded. Looking to up the ante in the way of experiences- theme parks, overseas holidays that make amazing memories, but at times are quite costly, time consuming and leave you in a state of resentment when your child is underwhelmed. We can fall into the trap of comparison – wanting to give our children what other parents are giving theirs in response to the guilt we feel at some level wanting them to feel they are deserving.
Of late I have really reflected on these behaviors and the messages I am giving my children. Are we teaching them to pursue happiness by instilling an expectation that these things are needed and to be valued in life? Or should we be teaching our children through our example to be grateful, slow down to notice life’s miracles, the endless joy and love one feels through connection with others by being present (without the distraction of electronic devices), the excitement one has knowing that a day full of surprises awaits, to accept life’s challenges and sit with the discomfort that brings knowing there is a lesson to be learnt and that things and experiences are not required to experience long-lasting joy. That in every moment in everyday we all can choose joy and smile.
For me there is a place for both happiness and joy but it has highlighted the need for more balance and to appreciate happiness when it comes and be aware of the joy that exists within me for just being alive.
Thankyou for your time,
Love from me
Karen Ormston is a Professional Life Coach, Intuitive Guide and ThetaHealing Practitioner. Owner-director of Petite Soul Sanctuary. www.petitesoulsanctuary.com.au
Photosource: Michael Ferlan RIP 17 Sept 2014. Personal Motto – Life is Good.