Why Love Is The Path To Happiness

Someone asked me the other day what the difference is between love and infatuation and with that at the back of my mind, as I watched a Steve Jobs speech (posted below), it made me think.   What struck me was that the answer is really the difference between real lasting happiness and hedonic pleasure.

 

Drug addiction is this choice taken to the extreme.  A moment’s rush now in exchange for a worsened state when you come down.  I’ve read that the single best predictor of success is the ability to postpone gratification.  I think this fits in with the last few posts I have made.

The ability to have a better relationship depends on not needing it to be perfect immediately

The ability to endure discomfort in the short term leads to a more stable happiness in the long term

The ability to overcome the desire for a quick fix allows us to overcome our weaknesses

People often ask me what is the secret to being happy.  It’s actually really simple.  Love is the path to happiness.  It sounds trite, like a hallmark card, but it’s true.  It’s true in a deeper way than people realise.  Think about this.

  • You’ll spend about a third of most days at work, so if you don’t love what you do and who you do it with, it’s going to be very hard to be happy.
  • You’ll probably spend most time outside of work with your family, so it’s going to be very hard for you to be happy, if you don’t love all of them.
  • If you feel jealousy or animosity when you are with friends or acquaintances, then it is going to be very hard for you to feel very happy in their company.
  • If you do not love your home, your car and so on, it will be hard for you to feel happy in the time you spend in them.
  • If you do not love yourself, the time that you spend dwelling on your own thoughts and even in your dreams isn’t going to be a lot of fun, is it?
  • Our ultimate destiny is to die, we all know this, so if we do not come to accept, peacefully, this inevitability our life cannot be peaceful.  It will instead be filled with a nagging anxiety until it happens.

As I observe most people, I see that few have any real passion for how they spend most of their time.  The most common hobby is watching television.  Passion comes from your pursuit of what interests you.  It is never broadcast by mainstream media.  What comes from the mass market is infatuation.  Fads and trends that will be forgotten about next year.  Gossip and Celebrities that will be discarded next week.  Cravings and obsessions that come quickly and disposably.

Anything that lasts and sustains requires deep roots and an investment of time and effort.  Fast food is quick, easy and convenient, but it doesn’t provide the same nutritional sustenance as a wholesome dinner.

Infatuations can be fulfilled conveniently, vicariously and require little of you.  Love is inconvenient and requires devotion and you to invest lots of time and effort.  The amount of happiness in your life is proportionate to the amount of love you feel, which depends on the effort you invest in it.

When our life is based on infatuations, our emotions fluctuate wildly with each rise and fall of the roller-coaster.

When we love the people around us, the environment around us and most importantly our inner landscape of our thoughts, happiness is inevitable.   And stable.

It is only our thoughts, that hold us apart from others, that hold us apart from happiness.  So to be happy make peace with everyone and everything.  Either in person or just in your head.  Not for their sake, but for yours.

The only barrier to happiness are our own thoughts… and those we can change.

I wrote this post to share my thoughts from this Steve Jobs speech.

5 thoughts on “Why Love Is The Path To Happiness”

  1. Hi

    When you find LOVE in its truest sense there will be absolute peace.
    Anything other than that and you have covered love with a condition borne from your belief in lack.

    Love in its truest sense simply Loves………Its sees nothing else.

    Infatuation is wanting and is thus nothing to do with Love………Its about a body

    Love is Giving and interestingly when you give LOVE you recieve…………not that you give it to get.

    Love is purely in spirit.

    Some say they love a partner and then the partner leaves them for another……….The love is then withdrawn.
    LOVE is never withdrawn…………Should the partner leave for another then all is wanted for the partner is happiness…………..Love LOVES.

    THis is why Jesus refers to Gods LOVE as not of this world.

    The beginning of my realisation of this was when my wife began to self harm and i did my best to prevent her from doing so ……………..saying that it was because i loved her
    I then realised that i was trying to prevent her harming because of my own emotional needs and that so called love was actually control. It was actually very selfish and all about me. Not Love at all.

    Love makes no demands……….It doesnt look to make changes to another………….It looks beyond the apparant defects to something greater…………That which i refer to as the spark.

    It is the Truth that dwells within each of us .

    And when you find that within you death will because quite insane

  2. Just as I was feeling anxious and wanting to get away from…..me (!), I came upon your site. What did I type in to find you? I will have to give that a look – I believe it was ‘sitting with our discomfort’ – and you delivered! I thank you, I thank you, I thank the divine that gives you the inspiration to share!

  3. Tony … I followed you up to the self harm of your wife part. Yes it is true you could not of done anything because she needs to want it. Love is showing that you care she stops harming herself in that way, and that is not a form of control. My ex went insane and my heart went out to him and I tried to find the tools he needed. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it was love on my part. He threatened to kill one of our children and wanted everyone to quit their jobs and going to school to take care of him. When I divorced him it wasn’t because love was withdrawn, but love had to be tough. He was not able to be in a healthy relationship and needed to find healing. If he didn’t like the tools I found so be it, but find some tools that work so you can enjoy life. I believe some people are not capable of love at it’s purest form because of mental and spiritual hindrances. I pray for him and his new wife all the time because I honestly don’t know what in his past led him to that point.

  4. I agree with you for the most part, but I disagree on a few details. The ability to succeed isn’t so much the ability to postpone gratification, but to realize the difference between a temporary solution to a permanent human problem and a permanent solution to a permanent human problem. A moment of hedonistic pleasure, like going to see a movie, could give a person enough time to deal with being overstressed after a hard day (temporary solution to a temporary problem). However, if he were to try this strategy to deal with losing a loved one or some other more permanent problem, every time he steps outside the movie theater he will find himself facing the same problem. Delaying when he goes to see the movie would make no difference.

    I think the real problem is that our English language makes “happiness” a thing and the best at explaining what it is get it wrong by labeling it an action. They see the object in motion and think the happiness is the object, and others see the spectacle and think it is the direction of the movement. Happiness is the force of the object’s motion. If we were to use these objects as a metaphor for persons, than happiness is found in striving for the motion that comes most naturally to the object in its environment, where motion represents all our consciousness, intent, and actions. Humans are object’s with a sort of gravity for one another, and so finding others to love can be helpful in finding our motion. In short, happiness is a path, not a destination.

Leave a comment