Stuff with Benefits
Wanting more, wanting what we do not have, wanting something or someone, wanting more pleasure, more fun, more excitement, wanting more status, more and better stuff, or just plain wanting.
Comparing, to someone better off, to someone worse off, comparing style, possessions, children, partners, comparing emotions, states of mind, ideology, successes or failures, illnesses or well being or just plain comparing.
Pleasure seeking, feelings, sensations, attainment, fun, distractions, approval, love, creating, building, fixing, or just the simple feeling of pleasure.
Contentment, with what we have, what we do not have, with enough, with the moment, with a choice, with a decision, our goals, with our attainments, with our dreams, with time. Time to feel, time to do, time to create, time to enjoy, time to connect, with another, with life, with ourselves.
A sense of lack drives us to fill the need. A sense of inferiority drives us to be superior or constrains us to feeling inadequate. A sense of superiority leans us toward an inflated ego, dominance over others, and a feeling of being better than others, even entitled to greater status and abundance.
Being Happy even for a moment changes how we relate to others. We are more generous, less critical, more connected, less distant, more peaceful, less agitated, more contented, less discontented.
Is attainment of enlightenment our goal, to be able to put everything in perspective, in its proper context? Or should we set aside, even discard such an effort to follow such an illusive label. Should we just ground ourself in the acts and experiences of the moment and learn to become more aware of the within and the without? If we look critically at Wanting, Comparing and Pleasure Seeking we can imagine that neither of them by themselves can aid us in our pursuit of happiness. For Happiness is not a thing, not an object, not a temporary success. It is a state of mind that brings the three drives of our nature into a state of contentment and from that base to a happier path of living.
Keep It Simple
If I get a raise or promotion I feel good. If a good looking member of the opposite sex smiles at me I tend to smile back. If the person shows interest the pursuit of pleasure and the satisfying of wanting begins. If a thousand people stand and shower me with applause I definitely feel good even great. If I win the lottery look out I am elated.
All temporary attainments (getting what we believe we need) of WCP (wanting, comparing, pleasure seeking) give us warm fuzzies. For a moment we feel better, we are more generous, more tolerant, even more interesting and interested. That moment does not last.
All failures to attain WCP creates a sense of disappointment, even loss, even temporary depression. We feel bad. This also does not last.
What is the difference between the temporary euphoria of getting, the temporary sadness or anger of not getting and happiness?
The complexity of our lives, how we have lived, what we have experienced and what imprint these made on our interpretation of life makes it very difficult to understand cause and effect. Sure genetics played a role in your initial response to life. As a baby you might have been smiling and happy. Or you might have been miserable and cried a lot. Probably a little of both. Sure your environment shaped you by imprinting in your mind the world as it appeared to you: easy and fun, painful, secure or insecure, scary and fearful, peaceful or violent. Cause and effect rapidly blurred as you experienced more, absorbed more, interpreted more and acted out what you were feeling. The entire field of Psychiatric Medicine and counseling attempts to assist you in identifying cause and effect. If we weren't so complcated analysis would not be so difficult.
Again the idea of "mindfulness - awareness - paying closer attention" can help. By witnessing our needs and desires, our wanting or pleasure seeking we can properly choose. We can be happy or content with what we have or enjoy the pursuit of what we want, but in both cases we will be aware that the pursuit is more fun than the attainment or the getting. We will also recognize the impact of our getting has on others. We will also begin to understand when enough is enough, that stroking our ego with the success of getting creates a temporary feeling of satisfaction. This feeling is not a happiness you can carry around with you. Only a consistent state of a happy mind permits the joyful interaction with others. This may manifests as a smile, laughter, helping out, letting someone get ahead of you in a line or just an easy exchange of acceptance and acknowledgement. Either way your contentment or happiness will affect others in a most positive way.
My grandaughter ask me in the car once why I laughed so much. I said "I enjoy your company". She said, "and you love me". And I said, "of course". It was enough.