Most people mistake pleasure for happiness and vice versa. They believe both aspects of being the same. It often seems that pleasure will lead to happiness. But even if it gives us momentary joy, lasting happiness eludes most of us. Everyone desires to live a life of luxury full of health and happiness. However, those people that we consider successful do not always lead happy lives.
A renowned Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, explained on Huffington Post that happiness is only a state of inner fulfillment. But it is not the gratification of desires for outward things. For us to attain happiness, we need to know how to achieve it and differentiate it from pleasure. So let us see how the two aspects are different.
What Is The Definition Of Pleasure?
It is the outcome of fulfilling our desires. Along with that, it’s a result of the positive experiences of our various senses. Also, it often comes from the feeling of good things happening in our lives. Thus, pleasure exclusively relies on external events to exist. These are circumstances over which we exert little or no control. To derive a pleasant feeling, we must be experiencing some joyful occasion. So it means that we cannot just create a pleasant feeling ourselves.
In contrast, happiness does not depend on external circumstances. Although in some cases, the events in our life do influence our state of joy. But most of the time, happiness comes from within us. Positive emotions are something we need to make a conscious effort within ourselves to cultivate. Attaining our goals alone does not lead to genuine joy. We need to learn to be patient, kind, tolerant, and forgiving. Eventually, we have to try and overcome negative thoughts about our problems. In short, we need to be in control of how we feel and not let circumstances define our mood. It doesn’t mean that we should not have desires. But failing to satisfy these shouldn’t ruin our emotional state.
Difference Between Feeling Happy And Feeling Pleasant
Pleasure is short-lived because it comes from external sources like a good meal, film, music, sex, etc. it is over as soon as we are through experiencing them. Yes, at times, it leaves us feeling genuine joy. But this is a result of the positive emotions we have after our experience, and not the experience itself.
On the other hand, happiness is long-lasting. It is difficult to reach a state of happiness, as we all have problems in life. But when we do attain such a state, it stays with us for a lifetime. So it goes without saying that happiness gives us satisfaction. It is the ultimate goal of a meaningful life.
Many people rely on pleasure to be happy. In fact, humans have a craving for a pleasant feeling. We all love to indulge in delicious food, sexual activities, and other personal hobbies and passions. The reason for this is because it gives us such a pleasant feeling when we do those things.
Happiness does not arise from circumstances. It means that we can enjoy doing things, but not need them to be happy. Our happiness remains unchanged regardless of our situations. So we should never confuse momentary pleasure with genuine happiness. In many cases, if we give in to the pleasant activities, it might even turn into an addiction.
But by drawing a clear line between the two terms, we can focus on what’s important. There’s no harm in pursuing activities that make us feel pleasant. But our main goal should always be to achieve lasting happiness. One that does not come from material possessions and external events.