There are four levels of happiness according to Aristotle. The first level is what we all know because it’s so superficial. It’s the happiness of material goods. Gratification for the external. If you find joy in holidays because you receive gifts, this one’s for you. Even worse, if you don’t receive gifts and it puts you in a mood, you might relate to this type of happiness. To keep your happiness, we protect these things. Your pleasure is limited to the things you have like your car or your house which makes life shallow.
The second level of happiness is happiness from comparison. This isn’t true happiness because it’s rooted in separation. A common example of this type of happiness is winning a competition against another, or being the winner of anything that involves scarcity like a promotion. Out of everyone in the world, we’ve been chosen which makes us feel like we are better. People who find happiness through a competitive nature will also feel low when they aren’t at the top of their game. The switch in emotions is dependent on winning and losing. It’s not a stable way to gain happiness. In turn, comparison also leads to negative emotions like jealousy and self-absorption.
The third level of happiness is a bit more stable and starts to put others at the forefront. This level of happiness comes from helping others. This type of happiness allows us to find happiness in others and the happiness of others makes us happy. Now we’re getting somewhere. The only negative in this level of happiness is that our happiness is dependent on the happiness of others. We are trying to be at a place where we are happy regardless of the situation. We are looking for unconditional happiness which happens to be the last level.
When we get to the final level of happiness, we know that we are in perfect happiness. What does perfect happiness look like? It’s a happiness that’s built into perfection. We already talked about you being perfect and your perfection can only be found in one way Yep, you guessed it. We’re still talking about forgiveness. When we are forgoing our grudges we are ensuring happiness and harmony for us and those around us. When we ask for forgiveness, we are not keeping the secrets of our wrongdoing but rather exposing them so that we can live free. The same goes for forgiving a person as you show your true self in the kindness that you are giving. So long are the days that we chase the material things of the world just to be happy. When we let go of our guilt and the guilt of others we can step into happiness when we know that we and others are perfect. Through this perfection we find happiness.
Why We Aren’t Happy
The biggest reason why we’re not happy is the trapped emotions we have when we harbor negative emotions from unmet needs and expectations. These emotions can then affect how we relate to others whether they are associates we barely have much communication with or the loves of our lives. We can’t authentically be ourselves, nor can we authentically love others. The only way to be free from this pain is through forgiveness. When this happens we can be free from perceived negativity knowing we are safe in what we know is perfection. You have to remember that you are perfect, but only if the people around you are perfect as well.
When we forgive, we release the past. The past isn’t real. You start to realize that no one can hurt you, and no one has hurt you because the past separates you from the now. When we carry resentment, what we are doing is carrying baggage that isn’t ours. Have you ever tried to go to your next flight at an airport and packed for like a month? It becomes very difficult. The burden we put ourselves on only makes us less happy.
Also, realize time is nothing, but a tool for learning. If something happens that you perceive to be bad, the best thing to do is find the lesson in it. The negativity that came with the perceived suffering isn’t real. Everything is fair and given to us because we need growth. There is no way of telling if the past would have been different if you did something differently. Everything is what it is. We can’t change what doesn’t exist. All things work together for our good and are used to bring us closer to love. It’s difficult, but it’s time to see our hardship from a different perspective. Our only prerogative is to make sure that we see our perfection, dismiss all negativity, and spread love to ourselves and those around us.