These are two very different questions, and for the most part, many of us have been chasing the wrong rabbit. And when we catch it, it isn’t so satisfying after all.
Happiness is in the now; its all about me; it results when an appetite is temporarily satisfied.
Meaning is altogether different, and far more healthy and life-enhancing–for ourselves and others, in the long run. And many of us don’t have and don’t know how to go about bringing meaning into the center of our lives.
…according to the Center for Disease Control, about 4 out of 10 Americans have not discovered a satisfying life purpose. Forty percent either do not think their lives have a clear sense of purpose or are neutral about whether their lives have purpose. Nearly a quarter of Americans feel neutral or do not have a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful. Research has shown that having purpose and meaning in life increases overall well-being and life satisfaction, improves mental and physical health, enhances resiliency, enhances self-esteem, and decreases the chances of depression. On top of that, the single-minded pursuit of happiness is ironically leaving people less happy, according to recent research. “It is the very pursuit of happiness,” Frankl knew, “that thwarts happiness.”
So this is one of the “Road Less Traveled” topics I would have developed into a column, if I was still doing that; or if the blog was still the place for that.
And, it’s something that would be (will be?) a twig off the memoirish parts of the Floyd County Almanac, when and if…
So for now, I think this Atlantic article titled “There’s More to Life Than Happiness,” from which the quote above was taken, bears more thought–at least for me–and I offer it to you for your own digestion and metabolism.Â