Is it normal to want to be happy? Abso-freakin’-lutely.
Is it wrong to desire happiness? Oh heck no.
BUT, is there more to life than just being happy? You better believe there is.
Unfortunately, our American culture is far more interested in the pursuit of individual happiness than in the search for meaning and purpose in life.
Yeah, I know that might have stung a little. But it’s true. I want so much more than an emotion for you, sister.
While being happy is a good thing, we often overlook the most essential element of our happiness – having a reason to be happy.
Let’s talk about the difference between a happy life and a meaningful life.
Happiness is really just an emotion… It’s all about “feeling good”.
Generally speaking, people who are happy are typically in good health, think life is somewhat easy, and can buy the things they both need and want. A “happy life” can also be defined by a lack of stress and worry.
For many, happiness is the result of getting what you want. When you have a need or desire and you satisfy it, happiness ensues.
While a happy life tends to be rooted in a “what’s in it for me” ideology, a meaningful life finds satisfaction in giving to others.
In other words, having real meaning and purpose in life surpasses self, while happiness is mostly focused on giving self what it wants.
People who live life with purpose are more likely to help others in need because they are less centered on self and more concerned about others.
Those who live life with purpose are also healthier, more resilient, and even live longer.
So, I’d say this is proof in the pudding that our search for meaning is far more fulfilling than a personal pursuit of temporary happiness.
A meaningful life is built by being intentional in how you spend your time and where you direct your mental and emotional energy.
In her book, “The Power of Meaning,” Emily Esfahani shares four pillars of a meaningful life.
- Experiencing a sense of belonging in relationships where you are valued for who you are and you show that same value to others.
- Having a purpose that is less about what you want and more about what you can give.
- Experiencing moments of transcendency when you realize life is about something bigger than you.
- Learning to openly tell stories about your life.
I’m not gonna lie. Living a meaningful life takes work… and a lot of it. But it’s worth it.
Don’t just settle for “happy,” my friend. Find that sweet spot of yours.
Check out my book, The Sweet Spot, to learn how you can enjoy life more right where you are.