Happiness was the subject in my daily devotional reading. I considered that happiness is like the floors of a department store. As I take the elevator from the ground floor the operator calls out “First floor chocolate.” the second floor is announced as beautiful home accessories; the third floor wisdom; until I arrive at the ultimate pinnacle, love. The point is, until I realize that God created me with a space for His love to occupy, I’m not happy nor content. If I leave that space empty, it equals an empty, joyless life.
I decided to do an Internet search using levels of happiness. Guess what? There’s nothing new under the sun. Aristotle listed four levels of happiness.
“Laetus: Happiness in a thing. Thus, “I see the linguine, I eat the linguine, it makes me feel good, I am happy.” This kind of happiness is based on something external to the self, is short-lived and, on reflection, we do not consider that it is all there’s to human happiness.”
“Felix: The happiness of comparative advantage. “I have more of this than X.” “I am better at this than X.” This kind of happiness results from competition with another person. The self is seen in terms of how we measure up to others. It has been called “the comparison game.” Such happiness is rather unstable and, if one fails, can lead to unhappiness and sense of worthlessness. Exclusive pursuit tends to oppress others. Most people would not imagine a world as satisfactory if it was composed of only happiness #2 type people.”
“Beatitudo: (Beatitudo = happiness or blessedness). The happiness that comes from seeing the good in others and doing the good for others. It is, in essence, other-regarding action. Happiness #3 is, in some sense, at war with happiness #2. One cannot be at the same time in competition with someone else and doing the good for and seeing the good in them. Most people would prefer a world (community, family, relationships) structured around the pursuit of happiness #3 than entirely based in happiness #2. Happiness #3 is higher than happiness #2. The problem with #3 is that it is necessarily limited. We cannot be someone else’s everything. For example, we or they, will die and if our happiness is contingent upon them, it dies with them. “There must be more than this.”
“Sublime Beatitudo: (sublime = “to lift up or elevate”). This category, the most difficult to describe, encompasses a reach for fullness and perfection of happiness. The fullness, therefore, of goodness, beauty, truth and love. So we recognize in this category, those things that are, in a sense, beyond what we are capable of doing purely on our own.”
Catholic Education Resource Center
Make your spiritually a priority and true joy is possible, even in the face of the most difficult of circumstances.