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Happiness vs. Pleasure

What’s Gucci my fellow readers,

Today I’m going to talk about happiness. Specifically, I’m going to talk about the misconceptions between happiness and pleasure.

Happiness is the thing we are all looking for. Whether we’re attempting to find it through money, sex, drugs, love, sports, food, blowjobs, or pretty much any thing that you can think of, happiness is our ultimate goal. At least that’s my opinion.

Now, unfortunately for us, we get distracted from our search for happiness by pleasures. The two are very similar, but pleasures often times end up steering us away from the pathway to more happiness. That’s a lowkey Dj Khaled reference for those of you who watch his snapchats.

Anyway, back to my point. Pleasures, though they make us happy momentarily, are actually detrimental to our overall happiness in the long run.

Normally at this point in any other post I would give a real life example to illustrate what I’m trying to say a little better. I’m tempted to do so right now, but I am struggling to find an example that would carry out my message the way I’m trying to deliver it.

That’s because at the end of the day we all look for happiness in different ways. *refer to my earlier list* And for me to arbitrarily determine what should and shouldn’t bring you happiness, even if it’s just for an example, does not feel right — and I feel like it would take away from my message.

Therefore, my dear Gucci reader, I’m going to ask you to think of an aspect of your life where you find yourself not at a perfect level of happiness. Chances are, that if that something has been on the back of your mind for quite some time now, you have most likely also thought of a solution. Perhaps you are missing someone and you think you can’t be happy without them, or perhaps you want a nicer car even though you already have one. Maybe you like your job, but you don’t like your co-workers and you wish you worked in a more fun social environment.

Whatever it may be, I’m sure there is something about your life that gives you a sense that something’s missing. I think that’s a pretty common feeling and one that almost all humans share; the longing for “something” more, whatever that something may be.

Well, the whole point I’m trying to make here is that you can get rid of that feeling of longing by asking yourself a very simple question: “Would it bring me pleasure, or would it bring me happiness?” Sounds SUPER clichè, I know. But just hear me out for a second.

When we think of a pleasure — temptation, I suppose you could call it — we think of something that’s good for us, but that we shouldn’t really do. For example, let’s say you’re feeling lonely, and you know that you really shouldn’t hang out with a guy/girl because it could lead to other things. Sometimes your mind will play that little game where it just second guesses itself continuously. “Oh just go ahead and do it, it’s a one time thing, it’s not that bad,” and the other side goes, “no, resist the urge. You know it’s not worth it.”

Now, assuming that you have good self control and you don’t give in to the loneliness, you’re going to listen to the side that says, “no, resist the urge. You know it’s not worth it.”

When only that side is taken into consideration, however, it seems as if we are preventing ourselves from experiencing something that would bring us pleasure.

The reason it’s difficult for us to say “no” to pleasures lies in the very nature of the word “no.” We look at it as if we are denying ourselves from something, as if we are limiting ourselves from momentary happiness…which, is what leads us into temptation in the first place.

But if we were to understand that by bringing up those doubts we are not shielding ourselves from pleasure, but rather looking out for our long term happiness, I think it would already sound more appealing than the phrase “no, don’t do that.”

I understand that I’ve given an example which makes it seem as if this logic only applies to hook ups — it’s the problem that I had brought up earlier about using examples that limit the scope of my message — but I think that it applies to many more things in our lives.

Like shopping, ohhh there’s a prime time example. A lot of times we see something that we really should not purchase (especially as college students) because we know that our bank accounts will not approve of us. But then we start thinking, “come on, am I really going to keep myself from buying this?” So we basically work reverse psychology to make it seem as if we are depriving ourselves from purchasing something that would benefit us, when in reality we are just fine without it. But as it happens in 90% of the cases, we end up making the purchase anyway.

However, if we were to ask ourselves, “is this going to bring me pleasure, or is it going to bring me happiness?” Then it begins to look a lot more like a search for happiness as opposed to a denial of pleasure. I mean, I think we would all agree that looking at our bank accounts and seeing three digits is a lot more appealing than a big ole goose egg. But we’re not thinking that far ahead when we spend all our money on useless shit, now are we?

I definitely see how most people would disagree with me, because at least on the materialistic side of things, we live in the golden era of capitalism. Thus, I’m sure someone could easily call me out for being hypocritical, seeing as when it comes to materialistic things bringing me pleasure, I would almost certainly struggle to pose myself the pleasure vs. happiness question too.

Nonetheless, I hope to have given enough explanation to point out why that applies to not only simple human interactions and transactions, but also general quests for happiness as well. I’ll give one more example just to try and make this last point even clearer.

Let’s say you miss someone really bad, and they have done you wrong before, but you just really wish they would come back. Now, if they did, your first reaction would be to probably welcome them with open arms, and for that I don’t think anyone could blame you. But when you begin looking at it from an overall happiness standpoint rather than momentary pleasure, you can come to the realization that you in fact did not miss that person but just the temporary comfort that they brought you.

Soon after that first rush of emotions you would probably quickly realize that they are still the same person who had done you wrong in the first place, and there you are again…back in the same cycle. However, had you asked yourself, “would this person coming back bring me pleasure or happiness?” then perhaps your initial reaction would have been different.

It’s a difficult question to ask, no doubt about it,  but I think that if you train the mind to think that way, it’s going to end up paying off in the long run.

I apologize if the lower level of entertainment is not pleasing to you, but I’m hoping that it brings you more happiness over time. See what I did there? Wow, I’m so witty. Anyway, thanks for taking time out of your day to read this, I really appreciate it.

As always,

Toodaloo

P.S. I got 90% of these concepts from a book called The Art Of Happiness. It’s written by Howard C. Cutler in collaboration with the Dalai Lama. If you wish to learn more about this type of stuff I would strongly recommend it; definitely eye opening.

 

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