The Illusion of Happiness: Why Inner Peace Matters More

Happiness is something we all strive for. It’s the ultimate goal that we’re taught to pursue from a young age. We’re constantly bombarded with messages that tell us to buy certain products or achieve certain goals in order to arrive at happiness. Yet, despite our best efforts, true and lasting happiness often eludes us, even after the accolades, with the big salaries and the hottest hubby. That’s because the happiness we’re chasing is often just an illusion. It’s based on external factors like money, success, and relationships, which can be fleeting and unreliable. In reality, what we truly need is inner peace – a sense of calm and contentment that comes from within. In this blog post, we’ll explore why inner peace matters more than the illusion of happiness and how cultivating it can lead to a more fulfilling and joyful life.

The Illusion of Happiness

I love springtime when the weather turns warmer, and I can drink my coffee on the deck and listen to the birds chirp at one another. It’s funny how much joy I get from such a simple act. I’m not sure if it’s the brisk breeze on my shoulders, the sun in my eyes, the sound of the weed wacker from the neighbor, or the cars passing on the road, but something about a sunny spring day that hits differently.

I think it’s just the promise of hope after a long winter and how that can parallel real life. It’s a much-needed reminder that good is coming right around the bend.

Except too many people don’t even take the time to notice all the beauty wrapped up in a single moment like this. There are mouths to feed, games to attend, work to be done, arguments that need addressing, emotions that need tending, and so we put moments of simplicity on the back burner.

It’s a devastating mistake, though, because when we can learn to quiet our minds, accept what is, and look at the blessings in the small things, we can learn to see joy, abundance, and happiness all around us.

Instead, people search far and wide for happiness, believing it’s in the vacation, the new car, the bigger house, or the better job. We live in a society that tells us we need more, need to do more, and need to buy more in order to be happy.

And that’s the illusion of happiness; true happiness is never found outside of ourselves.

Happiness and Inner Peace: Why You Shouldn’t Chase Happiness without Inner Peace

True happiness is living in the present moment. It’s a state of being, not something we can chase. In fact, the more we pursue happiness, the more we are likely to fall short. Because the pursuit, by its very nature, prevents us from being in the moment, which is the key to happiness. Finding joy in the simplest of moments is where happiness awaits.

Victor Frankl highlights this point in his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In fact, one of the most prominent lessons I learned when reading this book was that the way to achieve any kind of happiness (even in the most dire situations) is to stop thinking about it as the goal and instead focus on a vision more significant than you.

The very idea of chasing happiness means that you are living in a state of self-centeredness-the root of all suffering.

Chasing the idea of happiness is one of the weird paradoxes of life because the more we chase it, the further we get from it, and the harder it is to achieve. Therefore, we are likely to miss the mark.

Instead, what you might actually be pursuing is inner peace. Allow me to explain.

Happiness isn’t what you’re Actually Chasing.

Most of us call it happiness, but what you are really in search of is inner peace. We want to be able to navigate difficult situations without losing our minds, we want to address stress with ease and calm, and we want to end the nagging idea that we should be doing more, being more, and having more. We want to feel good even when things aren’t going as planned. We want quality relationships and way less drama. Am I right?

And it is an inner peace that creates all of these things. 

No matter what situation we are in, the soul wants to be at peace with itself. It wants inner calm. It wants to experience love and envelop gratitude. It wants ease and less friction. This is what we are really chasing; it’s not happiness. 

When we master inner peace, we arrive at a state of happiness as a consequence. But it can never be the opposite. You will never be able to achieve true happiness without having inner peace first. 

Therefore, pursuing anything outside of you to achieve inner peace will always result in a dead end because everything about happiness begins with you.

Chasing Happiness is a Dead-End Road, and This is Why

When it comes to finding happiness, many people believe that external factors like money, success, and relationships are the key. I will be the first to admit that these factors can absolutely contribute to temporary happiness. Still, there’s a caveat here because relying solely on them as the source of happiness can do quite the opposite. 

Ever heard of the hedonic treadmill? It’s the tendency for us to quickly adapt to positive changes in our lives and return to our baseline level of happiness. 

For example, if you get a raise at work, you might feel happier for a little while, but eventually, you’ll adjust to your new income level, and your happiness will return to its previous level.

This means that if you’re constantly chasing external sources of happiness, you’ll find yourself on a never-ending treadmill, always searching for the next thing to make you happy, always looking for something more and never being fulfilled. 

I’d be silly not to mention that relying on anything outside the self makes happiness extremely fragile and fleeting. And as such, can we actually call that happiness?

For example, buying a new car might make you feel happy for a while, but eventually, that feeling will fade. The same goes for relationships. Can they contribute to happiness? Absolutely.  But they are not a guaranteed source of lasting fulfillment.

When your happiness is tied to external sources, it can make you highly vulnerable to negative events outside your control. For example, if you lose your job or your relationship ends, your happiness will likely be greatly affected. This is because your sense of well-being is tied to factors that are outside of yourself.

In contrast, focusing on inner peace can have significantly more lasting benefits. Inner peace is a state of calm and contentment that comes from within, and it’s not reliant on external factors. Therefore, by cultivating inner peace, you can learn to find joy and fulfillment in the present moment, no matter how simple, regardless of your external circumstances.

The Benefits of Chasing Inner Peace Instead of Happiness

Cultivating inner peace is an often-overlooked aspect of finding happiness and fulfillment in life, which is insane to think we don’t give it the justice it deserves. Inner peace refers to a sense of calm and contentment that comes from within rather than relying on external factors to feel happy. It is important to differentiate that happiness is an emotion, whereas inner peace is a state of being. It is an unrealistic expectation to chase the emotion of “being happy” all the time. Experiencing an array of emotions is what it means to be human.  Emotions ebb and flow, they aren’t always grounded in truth, and they are fleeting. Therefore, we don’t want to chase the feeling of being happy constantly, we want to pursue a state of inner peace. 

One significant benefit of cultivating inner peace is greater resilience. When you have inner peace, you’re better equipped to handle the ups and downs of life. You’re less likely to be thrown off by unexpected events or negative experiences, and you’re more likely to bounce back quickly from setbacks. This is because inner peace gives you a strong sense of stability and composure, allowing you to remain calm and centered even in challenging circumstances.

Another benefit of cultivating inner peace is improved well-being. When you’re at peace with yourself and the world around you, you’re more likely to experience positive emotions like joy, contentment, and gratitude. You’re also less likely to experience negative emotions like anxiety, stress, and depression. This can have a profound impact on your overall sense of well-being, leading to better physical health, healthier relationships, and a more fulfilling life.

Cultivating inner peace can also give you a deeper sense of purpose. When you’re at peace with yourself and your surroundings, you open space to connect with your values and goals. For me, inner peace gave me a greater sense of clarity and direction and helped me to become more motivated to pursue the things that truly mattered to me instead of getting caught up in the drama and trivial things. Ultimately, this can lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life as you align your actions with your deepest values and aspirations. Without a deep sense of purpose, we tend to focus on drama and create a lot of our own misery. 

Cultivating inner peace is a powerful way to improve your life and move toward an overall state of happiness. From greater resilience to improved well-being and a deeper sense of purpose, the benefits of inner peace are undeniable. While cultivating inner peace may take some time and effort, the rewards are always worth it. 

Question for you Ponder:

  • Are there areas of your life where you rely on external factors to produce feelings of happiness?
    • If so, journal about them.
    • What are they, and how can you move toward the pursuit of inner peace instead?

Now, I want to hear from you!

a penny for your thoughts?

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