Monday, November 28, 2011


Do you know what the difference is between happiness and contentment?

When I googled it, I got 893,000 answers, like this one and this one and even this youtube video. All the ones I took the time to read/look at seemed to view happiness and contentment as on the same continuum.  But I am not so sure.

Because for me, contentment feels like being stuck in the same place. It's too passive or something, and why I could never embrace Buddhism (all that rejection of desire...). For me, happiness involves DIScontent, striving, moving. I feel good when I am working toward something.

I think my brand of happiness is a lot like something I heard actor Michael Caine say in an interview: "I'm like a duck: calm on the surface, paddling like hell underneath."

I also heard Kenny Rogers say something similar in a recent tv interview.

Your thoughts?


  1. I've been thinking about this all day, and I lean the same way as you, Irene. This evening, this quote popped in my head, "And there is even a happiness/That makes the heart afraid." I confess I didn't recall whose line that was (it's Thomas Hood, "Ode to Melancholy," I don't think our fellow poet was contrasting happiness and contentment, but it's interesting to contemplate...I don't think "There is even contentment/that makes the heart afraid" would work - which defends your suggestion that they are two different things.

  2. Yes, Kory, to that gorgeous line! I rather like that kind of happiness that makes the heart afraid. I think I might even thrive on it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As ever, it makes me wish we had lots of time to hang out together. xo


Your thoughts?