Happiness VS Contentment

Happiness. One word, but a word that is googled so often. A word that magazines, books, courses, make up artists, restaurants and fosters adverts use liberally to advertise their products and claim to improve your chances in getting it. It has now gone from an emotion to a commodity despite the fact that there have been countless studies concluding that you cannot buy happiness. But I would have to disagree. In my eyes the problem is that people confuse happiness with contentment but these are actually two different things entirely.

Happiness for me is a mixture of feelings. It is a mixture of joy, excitement, lust, passion…(insert other positive adjectives here), whereas contentment is that feeling of complete satisfaction, not necessarily because everything in your life is perfect but because at that moment you have no more desires, and as Buddhism suggests, desire is the root to human suffering because with desire comes a feeling of never being satisfied, always wanting the next thing, whatever that may be. Hence why happiness can be sold, because it focuses on fulfilling a desire. A desire is fleetingly satisfied once you have purchased said product but soon that rush wears off and the next desire takes its place. For example, you see an advert for a new dress and you desire to own it so you buy it and for however long, depending on your personality, you are happy. You have fulfilled that particular desire. But then you see another nice dress you want this one too. The desire, in short, has come back.

With contentment however there is no desire to be sold or bought. Therefore it cannot be transformed into a commodity. How do you sell a sense of satisfaction? You can’t because you can’t even begin to describe it, let alone form it into a product.