General Question

janbb's avatar

Would you rather be happy or be contented?

Asked by janbb (62854points) December 8th, 2023
21 responses
“Great Question” (8points)

Do you make a distinction between the two? The question occurred to me as I was making potato latkes and getting ready for a friend to come for dinner.

If you do distinguish between the two, how do you and which would you prefer? Always or sometimes?

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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Contented. Happy is a chemical reaction from brain chemicals. They are also addictive. You also need more and more to feel normal. It also screws up the reward section of the brain in order to tell between good and better. If I was happy all the time I wouldn’t know right from wrong, and wouldn’t grow.

Contented is almost as bad, but not quite.

Contented I would sleep all day.
Happy I would go on a crime spree, and not know that what I was doing was wrong; As it feels good.

zenvelo's avatar

Happy is fleeting, contented can last.

To paraphrase the Romans, sic transit felicitatem mundi.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Why not both?

canidmajor's avatar

At this point in my life, the line is pretty blurred. I no longer seek great joy, it’s the lesser things that please me now. Knowing my kid is okay and happy, my friends and the people I love being functional and okay, a certain level of comfort and security, the dog within patting distance, a decent diner nearby, stuff like that. “Happy”, although a lovely sensation, seems a little more active than I have the energy for.

smudges's avatar

I’d rather be contented and have moments of happiness. As @zenvelo quoted: “sic transit felicitatem mundi.”

chyna's avatar

Content. Happy is fleeting. So I think content seems to stay around longer.

JLeslie's avatar

Content if I have to choose.

I think part of contentment usually involves moments of happiness.

As I think about it, the word happiness can be used synonymously with the word contentment, but happiness can also be used in lieu of the word joy or to mean an experience that is exciting. I usually used happy to describe that heightened state, and content is a general feeling of overall everything is ok, but not a thrill state.

jonsblond's avatar

To me they are one in the same.

Forever_Free's avatar

Contended. Happiness is often fleeting.

flutherother's avatar

Happiness was when I opened a Christmas present as a child and found the paint box or the torch I wanted. Now I wrap up presents for my children and grandchildren and anticipate their excitement and that makes me feel contented.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I love this question! I’ve been thinking about it on and off all day.
I never gave it a thought until you mentioned it.
I prefer content. “Happy” is that brief flash of light from fireworks “Content” is the warmth of sitting around the campfire.
Both are great but if I had to pick just one, I’d go with “content”.

zenvelo's avatar

I got this in a daily email today:

“Happiness is a by-product – the extra dividend of giving without any demand for a return.”

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’m retired and content.

ragingloli's avatar

What state are the dead in?

rebbel's avatar

I’d rather have a dozen happy moments, then a year of being/feeling content.
Being content makes me (feel) complacent.
Happy moments make me feel alive.
Contentment makes me feel vegatative.

Blackberry's avatar

A few people that worked their way up the corporate ladder and ended up leaving due to burnout, despite making over 100k made me reevaluate what I want out of life.

JLeslie's avatar

Blackberry is back too! Hi!

jca2's avatar

I’d rather be content with little burst of happiness from happy news or happy occasions here and there.

jonsblond's avatar

@Blackberry I left a job last June for something with better pay, excellent benefits and a pension but I am miserable. Before I was in a work environment where I felt appreciated, I got along with everyone and it was only two blocks from my home. I walked to work and loved it. Now I don’t feel appreciated in my new job. I’m bullied by two female coworkers and my commute can sometimes take an hour each way. I’m regretting leaving my old job and wish I could return even though the pay and benefits aren’t as good.

smudges's avatar

@jonsblond Really sorry to hear that. I feel for you. :(

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