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The Paradox of Comfort: Chasing Happiness in the Wrong Places

Jan 12, 2024
two women one who is rich and unhappy and one who is poor and happy

Comfort does not bring us happiness. We all strive to be “comfortable” and when we get there we are content but many times not happy.  We get afraid of messing it up, changing things in our lives that will effect our comfort.  So we stay put.  We stop growing.  We stop trying new things and focus on maintaining our comfort. We think about the times when we weren’t comfortable and think we more “more” unhappy so let’s stay comfortable.  


The unhappy, the uncomfortable, the discontent was better for one main reason.  It got us to actually want something different. We had to move to improve.  We had to make changes to reach happiness.  The times we struggled MOTIVATED us to move forward.  To Change. To improve.  To grow. 


Comfort is the antithesis of happiness.  It is pushing us in the wrong direction.  Does this mean we cannot ever be comfortable?  Does this mean always have to change?  Does this mean we always have to do hard things to be happy? 




Are you living a comfortable life right now.  Take a long honest look at your level of happiness.  Are you happier than when you were when you were growing, changing and making things happen?  When you think of changing you do “hate” the idea because not you will be uncomfortable again?  You prefer to sit in your seemingly comfortable, stable, know what to expect, easy life?  You may think you do but I challenge you to be really honest with yourself and your true level of fulfillment.  


When you go to change from your “comfort” state it sounds lame.  You don’t want to do it, your mind and body rebel, you get cranky, you really don’t want to do it.  You remember the uncomfortable feelings, the effort and the constant challenges. You want to avoid it, you want your kids to avoid it, you hate the idea of starting over and learning new ways again.


When you make a change when your in the “uncomfortable” state - all the changes sound good.  You are moving on to a better place, a better situation, a place of less struggle and more comfort. You are motivated to change when you are in the “uncomfortable” state.  Your situation has the hope of improvement.  Happiness is on the horizon.


So what shall we do? We are unhappy in the state of comfort AND uncomfort?  How can we be happy?  Are we doomed to always be in a constant state of unhappiness?




We have to realize where happiness comes from.  It is harder to strive toward when we are comfortable and it is easier when we are uncomfortable.  We learn that happiness comes from change.  Change leads to growth and growth can lead to happiness.  


You must always be in state of change/growth/learning to find happiness.  Easier to move toward when your current state is needy…harder when your current state is abundance.  This explains a lot of what we see around us.  


The role of meaning…


Is happiness really the goal? Or is it meaning that we are seeking?  Or is it a bit of both?  Why are so many seeking happiness as the end all be all goal? 


Money makes us stressed  - so many assume that if we have enough money than we will be happy.  What is “enough money?”  Well according to research that just enough money to get us over the poverty line does increase happiness but there is no correlation after that.  Why then are we think we are will be unhappy making $60,000 per year.  Why do we feel that we won’t me happy until we make over $200,000 + or a million?


Happiness is not what we should pursue.  It is meaning.  Meaningful relationships, meaningful life work, meaningful narrative of our life. Finding meaning in your daily life right now. Striving for happiness as something in the future makes us discontent now.   We need to apply meaning in our lives today….


  1.  Live a life that alignes with your values
  2. Engage in what your doing today
  3. Find significance


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