Three Sources of Satisfaction in Life

By Jose Oliveira, M.Div.


satisfactionMany people think is too hard to be happy in life. True, being happy all the time is not something achievable in this life. Even Jesus said¸ “In the world you will have troubles.” Happiness depends, perhaps, on what people think that will make them happy, and, unfortunately, many will discover that what they thought would make them happy, didn’t work that way.

After some reflection on this issue of happiness, I came to the conclusion that is possible to be genuinely happy in this world, despite of all the difficulties one may experience here. There are three major sources of happiness in life, and if you follow them, you greatly increase the chances of being really happy in this life.

First, people want to have fun and that make them happy. An ill-informed religious ethics will tell you that having fun is bad. But, in fact, there is nothing wrong with having fun, if the fun you have is not harming you or others. Leisure is a human need, it is part of life, and it brings balance between pleasure and duty. The desire to enjoy life is a powerful drive to keep human beings productive. Many people work in jobs that they don’t like simply because they guarantee them a living in which they can enjoy life, doing what they really like – a hobby, spend time with family and friends or anything else that gives them real satisfaction. So, having fun is part of being happy; but, as you know, nobody can have fun all the time. Contrary to what some people think, life is not, and cannot be, an endless amusement park.

So, you need something more enduring than simply having fun in life. There comes our second major source of satisfaction in life: being able to accomplish something really important in life. Everybody needs a major achievement in life. Having an important goal in life can bring satisfaction not only when you finally reach it, but also during its pursuit. Achievement is a major source of human satisfaction and those who accomplish their goals in life will experience this wonderful feeling of having done something meaningful, at least for themselves.

However, there is another yet great source of satisfaction in life; I believe the most important of all – when you are able to make a difference in other peoples’ lives. Again, ill-informed religious leaders will tell you that there is no great satisfaction than to serve God. However, what can possibly God need from us? He doesn’t need anything. He Himself is the One gives us everything. Serving God is to serve your neighbor, as Jesus said, “Anything that you do for one of these my little ones, you have done to me.” Helping others is the secret of truly happiness in life. Usually is through our network of relationships that opportunities appear to make difference in the life of others. Let’s stop using our relationships to egotistically draw something for us, let’s use them to minister goodness to others. Raising a family, holding an office, being an educator, or simply volunteering to good causes, among many other good things, really give us the satisfaction of making difference (a good one) in the lives of our fellow human beings.

Having fun may make you happy for a while, but, eventually, even the funniest thing, will lose its enchantment and you have to look for another source of fun. Your accomplishments in life can make you proud of yourself and even to attract the admiration and respect of others, but once a goal is reached, only the pursuit of another goal can give you the same kind of satisfaction. However, if you make the goal of your life to make difference (a good one) in other peoples’ lives, the satisfaction that comes from it will last during all this life and even beyond, in eternity, because you only can be really happy when you contribute to the happiness of others.

Rev Jose Oliveira is a Presbyterian minister, living in Chicago, USA, and the director of the Illinois Theological Seminary, an online school offering masters, bachelors and associates programs in theology and philosophy. If you want to know more about the I.T.S., please follow the link below.


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Simon Mutia on December 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    This text is truly a source of inspiration for not just believers but also pagans because it cuts accross the needs of all who live on the face of the earth. Thank you


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