Why Happiness Is Never Enough (And How To Find Peace Instead)

Have you ever wanted someone to like you? It’s thrilling isn’t it?

And scary.

And did you ever get lucky enough to find out that the person you like likes you too? There is no way to contain your happiness. The smile simply cannot be wiped from your face.

Unless, of course, they withdraw their love. In which case your happiness evaporates immediately. And you feel empty and forlorn. Quite the opposite of happiness.

What Is Happiness?

There are many ways to use the word, but basically happiness is the feeling that happens when you get what you want. If you want someone’s love and you get it, you feel happy. If you want a position at work and you get it, you feel happy. If you want a new car and you get it, you feel happy.

But there’s a problem with happiness. It’s dependent on outside things. It’s dependent on things we can’t always control. Another person’s heart, our boss’s opinion, the amount of money in our bank account.

This makes our happiness unstable, and makes our life a football of situations and circumstances. What we need is a more stable basis for our life.

Peace Is A Much More Stable Basis

What is peace? Peace is the feeling that happens when we are content with the way things are. Peace is content if someone loves us, and even if that person pulls away. Peace is ok if we get the position at work that we were hoping for or not. Peace is grateful no matter what car we happen to be driving at the time.

Peace does not depend on outside things. It does not depend on us getting what we want. It is a quieter emotion than happiness. And it is available to us regardless of our circumstances and situations.

Peace Is What The Work Of Byron Katie Is About

The Work of Byron Katie is not about getting happiness. It is about finding peace. Can you be content even when your income drops to zero? Can you find peace even in divorce? Can you find the advantages of someone yelling at you? If not, The Work is here for you.

Step by step, The Work takes you from a state of anger and complaining to a place of peace about the way things are. But only if you’re open to it. No one can give you peace but you.

Here Is A Common Mistake When Doing The Work

It’s sometimes tempting to do The Work to fix yourself. And when you do, you miss it completely. If you want to fix yourself, you have already set up conditions: if I’m successful then I’ll be happy. If not, then I don’t like The Work.

In using The Work this way, you are not looking for peace, but for happiness. Happiness based on if The Work is able to fix what you think is broken about you. This is conditional, and a setup for disappointment.

Try Doing The Work Just For The Love Of Peace

Or another way to say it is, do The Work for the love of truth. Look at it as an experiment. A chance to test your theories. An opportunity to challenge yourself, and see if you can find the good side of a bad situation. When you do, you will find peace. And where there is peace, the seeds of happiness also find fertile ground.

The Next Time You Do The Work, Check Your Motives

Are you doing The Work to fix yourself (I want my emotional pain to go away–then only I’ll be happy)? Or are you doing it to make peace with your world the way it is? It is a subtle difference but the results are as different as night and day.

If you haven’t subscribed to The Work As Meditation newsletter already, subscribe by clicking the big red button below, and start getting articles like this every week. Or continue browsing more articles by clicking on one of these links:
What is The Work?
Relationship and Family Issues
Money and Job Issues
Body Issues
Deepening Inquiry
My Process Exposed

Get Insights and Tips!

  • Get weekly tips for how to do The Work as an ongoing practice.
  • Read insights from my own work and from working with clients.
  • Get the Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet Checklist.

I respect your privacy. Read my privacy policy on how I handle your personal information.