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In a television documentary about music and spirituality around the world, the comedian of many talents, Billy Connolly, was asked about happiness. In his response, he briefly referred to a painful childhood which included sexual abuse by his father and abandonment by his mother.
From a boilermaker in Glasgow to world celebrity, Billy Connolly has had his share of ecstasy and agony. And despite (or understandably because of) his success at making people laugh, his sanguine comments about happiness are worth a thought. Rather than ‘happiness’, Billy said, he found it easier and more meaningful to think in terms of ‘contentment‘.
For Billy, and perhaps for many of us, happiness is a somewhat momentary or fleeting high-energy experience. Contentment, on the other hand, suggests something a bit more enduring and less volatile. For me, happiness spans a bandwidth of experiences which include feelings of contentment, fun, delight, raucous laughter and quiet presence.
I wonder what you think about this distinction? Here are some questions to prompt some reflection:
- Would you describe yourself as ‘happy’ or ‘contented’? Or do you feel you are neither and have never been either?
- Could you be happy without being content? Could you be content without being happy?
- Could you be happy without smiling?
- Does experiencing disappointment or failure make you less happy?
- Do you believe that your happiness is the result of things that you do or acquire?
Just some questions that I have found useful to ask myself and others. Enjoy!
Lucy Lopez - Hire Me