How happy are you with your life? How satisfied are you with your life? Happiness and satisfaction are very subjective words that are used to mean different things. A lot of people use the word ‘happiness’ to describe joy. And sometimes we use the word ‘satisfaction’ to mean the pleasure we feel when our needs are filled, like the feeling we get from eating a satisfying meal after a long day of work.
These are both common and correct ways to use these English words, but I like the way the Dalai Lama describes happiness as something deeper than pleasure or joy. For him, happiness comes from satisfaction. He goes on to talk about satisfaction that comes from peace of mind and peace of mind that comes from “warm heartedness that reduces ill-feelings and mistrust.”
I think this touches on a common wisdom, that people from all cultures know. Deep happiness doesn’t come from sensory pleasure or even joy, but from the satisfaction we get from the relationships in our lives. It sounds a bit cliché, but being the best father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister and friend to the people around us brings us the greatest satisfaction in life. And this satisfaction gives our lives purpose and meaning.
Of course relationships aren’t the only sources of satisfaction and happiness. Learning new things, experiencing new ways of thinking about the world, creativity, and growth also bring us a lot of satisfaction and happiness.
When was the last time you stepped back and asked yourself how happy you are? Here are 5 questions adapted from an online life satisfaction test:
1. How close to ideal is your life?
2. How are the conditions of your life?
3. How satisfied are you with your life?
4. Have you achieved the important things you want in your life?
5. If you could live your life over, what would you change?
You can take the original test here. The only question I’d add to this list is, “Is the way that you interact with your friends, with your family and even with strangers, creating more peace in the world and more satisfaction in your life?”
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