Look Beyond This World for Lasting Happiness

The simplest definition of satisfaction is the absence of a wish or wish that has been fulfilled. We will not be satisfied until that desire is fulfilled. Conversely, happiness can arise even though the desires have not been fulfilled. This means that we can choose to be happy, but we cannot choose to be satisfied. Satisfaction is the result, while happiness is a process. Satisfaction comes at the end, while happiness can be at any time.
Prasmu Eli- Executive Learning Institute

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37

Recently, “CBS Sunday Morning” featured a segment about “happiness” and how it can be attained. Among those interviewed was Dr. Robert Waldinger, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who has written a book about attaining happiness, “The Good Life”. The author references long running studies he and his colleagues have conducted on happiness (I have referenced his work in some of my own papers; his longitudinal studies are quite detailed). I found the TV interview interesting, but still, wanting. The inference I took away is that happiness and satisfaction are the same. In my experience, there is a marked separation.

I believe there is a great difference between happiness and satisfaction. I think back to a lunch conversation from a few years ago I had with a young friend who was examining their own future, and how to “be happy” doing so. I commented that you can go to Dairy Queen, and down a Blizzard, and you’d be happy, but only for about a half hour…seeking and being satisfied is much more involved.

We are happy when we get a good grade in school, but satisfied when we have completed a challenging task.

We are happy when the weather is nice, but we are satisfied when we can enjoy our God-given gifts, no matter if it is warm or cold.

We are happy when we meet someone special, but we are satisfied when we know that the other person is, indeed, to be our partner in live, love, and faith.

Jesus tells his disciples: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35)

Our Lord presents our “road map” to satisfaction. It is not a straight path, and there will be detours. We will, almost certainly, be sad, be alone, be searching, as we walk that path. But, as the faithful, we know our end goal is ultimate satisfaction, our final reward, being with Our Lord through eternity.

Michael Throop