There is a difference between satisfaction and happiness. We often believe if we find the right person, buy a house, get promoted, we would be forever happy. Why do we believe that happiness is only achievable through life’s milestones?
The reality is that we might be aiming and experiencing satisfaction, not happiness. We live a life where we chase satisfaction, not happiness.
What is the Difference Between Satisfaction and Happiness?
If you look up in the dictionary, the definitions of satisfaction and happiness are similar. Both use words such as contentment and joy. However, in our daily life, the focus is on happiness, not satisfaction. Often, we will say: “Do what makes you happy!” We never use the word “satisfied” in this context. There might be a ring to it when we say “happiness.”
Researchers suggest that the word “happiness” is used more to describe someone’s personality. Describing someone as a happy person. It’s often used in relation to materialism. We often say we were happy after purchase, or we would be happy if we could afford something. Happiness is portraying a moment or only a temporary bliss.
On the other side, Thomas Jefferson’s definition of happiness is:
“Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits.”
Although this sounds nice, often happiness is a passing feeling in daily life.
Happiness happens when we experience something out of the ordinary. On the other side, satisfaction is an enduring feeling that we experience for a longer period of time. It’s related to the collection of events, thoughts, and feelings we are experiencing over the course of time, not in one moment. Satisfaction is more balanced and sustainable. We can’t be smiling, excited, and happy all the time. That’s almost impossible. Or when we say happy, we think about that balanced feeling of being satisfied with our lives?
How we answer this question is very important. If we are chasing bubbly happiness, we will never reach it. If we are saying “happy” but thinking “satisfied,” we can reach it.
Satisfaction is a better indicator of how we generally feel towards our lives. It can have a significant contribution to mindful decisions that give our lives meaning.
Example of how Satisfaction and Happiness are Different
Imagine you have a dream job or promotion that you’ve been chasing for a while. Once you have it, you might be excited and happy. However, soon enough, you move on with your life. You don’t wake up every day being happy and excited about the new job. Still, each day you should feel satisfied with your new job or new position in the company. If you are miserable after a while and not happy, you are chasing the wrong thing. Feeling satisfied for a longer period of time has a lasting impact on your mood. Happiness is only a temporary sensation.
Does Happiness Even Matter?
Satisfaction is a better long-term solution while happiness is temporary. Still, happiness and satisfaction are intertwined. Both matter and both are attainable, only satisfaction is more sustainable compared to happiness.
To avoid disappointments, we should aim for mental and physical health. Researchers are suggesting that strong personality traits are linked to higher life satisfaction. Often, satisfaction is related to self-discipline and the feeling that we are in control of our lives.
If we strongly believe we are in control and we have a clear path in front of us with actions that we have to take, we are more likely to experience satisfaction in life.