M.A.P to Happiness

Finding meaning and pleasure on the road to wholeness.

Alice Cunningham


Photo by Fernando Brasil on Unsplash

Have you ever wondered what you could do to increase your happiness?

My answer is to follow your M.A.P. which is an acronym for:

M=Meaning A=and P=Pleasure. Since meaning is meaningful and pleasure is pleasurable, people are often confused about balancing these two extremes.

They wonder how to incorporate both meaning AND pleasure into their daily lives.

Too much pleasure is called hedonism, and even though there’s a certain amount of short-term enjoyment, there’s usually a lot of pain involved. This enjoyment provides no lasting fulfillment because pleasure is about the present moment; and is often narcissistic.

On the other hand, the meaning is about the future, making a difference, and contributing something.

It’s meaningful to spend time with your mom or contribute your time and money to help others. However, suppose our lives are only spent dutifully contributing to others, even in meaningful ways. In that case, we become resentful of living a dull and sterile life, void of any pleasure or excitement.

Take our relationship with food, for example.

People often have a tug of war, meaning, versus pleasure, thinking about food. We want to eat right, be healthy, and treat our bodies like a temple.

So, we eat bland foods and avoid some of the juicy, decadent foods we crave until we become satisfied that we’ve accomplished our healthy goals. Then we binge, eating anything and everything we’ve managed to avoid and more. Afterward, we’re left feeling guilty.

I believe the answer to this and all other life areas is what I call fierce wholeness, radically and wholly trying to balance the two extremes.

I love juicy, double-decker cheeseburgers, loaded with every kind of artery-clogging goodness imaginable. The type of burger that requires two fistfuls of napkins before I even take the first bite!

But I don’t want them every day. It is not because I don’t love them, but because it’s not meaningful, and I know I’ll gain weight, increase my cholesterol and weaken myself physically.



Alice Cunningham

Creative. Copywriter. Blooming blogger. Breathwork enthusiast. Bohemian soul. Creative collaboration inquiries: Alicecunningham00@gmail.com