Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

How is Pleasure different from Happiness?


It is a hot day, and you feel tired walking in the sun. A friend offers you a ride in his air-conditioned car. How do you feel when you enter the car?

Will you describe your feeling as happinessor as pleasure? There is a connection between these two kinds of feelings, and sometime one evokes the other, but they are not the same thing. Pleasure is more dependent on the five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste and hear) while happiness is independent of them.

Pleasure is dependent on circumstances, objects and people. When you are happy, minor unpleasant events usually do not disturb you. When you are unhappy, you feel as if everything is against you. You might compensate for this, by eating chocolate and sweets, because this gives you pleasure; yet you stay unhappy.

From the moment of birth, there is yearning for happiness, and endless race towards it. It is considered as one of the greatest positive attributes. If you analyze your actions, you see that all of them are in some way or another, happiness oriented. Everyone wants to feel good and happy. When circumstances and events are to your liking, you are happy, and when they are not, you feel miserable.

Pleasure is a momentary feeling that comes from something external — a good meal, your stocks going up, buying something you always wanted, listening to music, stroking your pet.  Pleasure has to do with the positive experiences of your senses. Pleasurable experiences can give you momentary feelings of happiness, but this happiness does not last long because it is dependent upon external events and experiences.

Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment, not the gratification of desires for outward things.  Genuine happiness may be influenced by circumstances, but it isn’t dependent on it. In other words, pleasure is externally motivated and fleeting. You may derive pleasure from seeing a movie, shopping, dining at a fine restaurant, buying your first car, reading a good book and many such activities.  The pleasure is triggered by external forces.  On the other hand you are happy in your marriage, in your work surroundings, seeing your children grow up nicely and many such situations.  This happiness is within yourself and spread over a long period of time.  It is not momentary; it is a feeling of contentment and well-being.

Below are some situations illustrating the differences – happiness being a state of mind, while pleasure being caused by external forces.

  • Maria is not happy after her husband’s death but she is pleased that we all came to the funeral.
  •  I am so pleased you attended my graduation.
  • We are happy living in U.S.A.
  • We are pleased with our new home.
  • Tom was pleased with his promotion as office manager.
  • My early childhood was extremely happy.
  • We were very pleased to see the opera.
  • Stella was not happy in boarding school.
  • John is very unhappy at being overweight; yet he is pleased to get a gift of chocolates.
  • How can one be happy without a roof over one’s head?
  • The hurricane killed our happiness overnight by destroying our home.
  • Hello Mary, I am so pleased to meet you.
  • It gives me great pleasure to introduce the one-and-only Marilyn Monroe!
  • Are you pleased with your grades in school?
  • The director was not pleased with the musician’s performance.
  • My happiness depends on your good health and success in life.

To sum up remember that pleasure is connected with some activity or situation or something that gives your senses pleasure for a short time.  It is expressed in a sentence with “pleased with…” or “pleased to…”  Happiness is independent of any external stimulus and is a mental state.

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  1. Letting go of the expected result is important. Goals and dreams are just a way to keep your ass off the couch. It does not matter if they come true or not. Live your life, man. Just live! Stop TRYING to be happy and just be! It is as simple as that.

  2. Happiness long term , pleasure is short term
    More pleasure cause addiction , there is no roof for Happiness

    Happiness leads to pleasure even in case of rare resources
    Pleasure leads to depression and boring

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