As a society, we spend an enormous amount of energy trying to attain pleasure and avoid pain. We chase what we believe will make us happy, yet a real and enduring happiness often remains elusive.

Many people do not realize there is a difference between happiness and pleasure. The momentary feeling that comes from an external source, such as a good meal, gaining money, or making love, is an experience of pleasure. Pleasure is not long lasting, because it is dependent on external events or experiences. It’s very nature is temporary.

To feel more pleasure, we need to keep having those pleasant experiences. Unfortunately, many people become addicted to external experiences, and as a result, they chase short-lived feelings of pleasure again and again in pursuit of a happiness they will never truly find in those experiences.

People who frequently pursue pleasure often struggle to feel happy. You may know people like this. Those people may feel anxious and depressed, seeking momentary pleasures over and over again. This constant pursuit of pleasure can lead to addictions.

Pleasure-seekers may view themselves in a negative way, believing their constant need for pleasure is a failure. People trapped in this pleasure-seeking cycle want to have control over their feelings, but they struggle to feel a sense of balance. This can really take a toll on a sense of happiness, because they can get caught in a vicious cycle, always looking for more pleasure and suffering without it.

Real happiness is not based on momentary pleasures. Happiness is the natural result of being present in each moment. We can feel happiness by practicing love and kindness towards ourselves and others, being gentle and open. Feeling a deep sense of joy can be found by letting go of expectations, and by experiencing the peace available in each moment of life. There is no need to chase pleasure from outside sources, because real happiness comes from within.

Learning to become devoted to compassion and love instead of being fixated on pleasure is not easy. Our egos do not want to give up control, which can manifest as a need for things to be a certain way. A frequent experience of not being okay with whatever is happening in the moment can lead to deep and ongoing frustration and a sense of emptiness. This leads to more pleasure-seeking behaviours, creating a vicious cycle.

The paradox is that by being kind and gentle with yourself actually leads away from looking outside ourselves to feel good. Having a deep practice of letting go and being okay with whatever arises brings true happiness.

When the intent shifts away from a need to control and seek pleasure, and turns to acting loving towards ourselves and others, our hearts open. Long-term joy is the result. Deep and abiding happiness are the natural results of letting go, and of practicing caring, compassion and kindness.

My Abundance Program can assist with making the shift to experiencing real happiness. Learn more about the Abundance Program here.