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April 11, 2019

Joy vs Happiness

Joy or Happiness?

Like clouds with a silver or golden lining?

Is joy happiness?  Is happiness joy?  Is it the same thing?  Are both a feeling?
Which one lasts longer?

If you research “joy vs happiness” like I did, you will be surprised to find many controversial articles and opinions on this matter.

To get some clarity in my mind I decided to look up the meaning of the words in 2 different dictionaries:

Meaning of Joy:

  1. the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires
  2. a state of happiness
  3. a source or cause of delight

Source Merriam-Webster Dictionary

  1. a feeling of great pleasure and happiness
  2. success or satisfaction

 Source Oxford Living Dictionary

Meaning of Happiness:

  1.  a state of well-being and contentment
  2. a pleasurable or satisfying experience

 Source Merriam-Webster Dictionary

  1. a feeling of pleasure or contentment

 Source Oxford Living Dictionary

Synonyms:

 For joy:  blessedness, bliss, gladness, happiness

For happiness:  blessedness, bliss, gladness, joy

Source Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Quite interesting…

From the above dictionary definitions the two words seem to have the same meaning, but from studies and opinions by psychologists and theologists, happiness and joy is not the same thing.

Be it as it may, for me, joy and happiness are both a good feeling!  A feeling that is associated with pleasure, contentment and satisfaction.  A feeling I want to experience all the time.

So, when I sat down to think about an ongoing feeling of joy and happiness and how one can experience that, the following came to mind:

*The day I accepted myself for who I am, my state of (a lack of) joy and happiness changed.

The moment I made peace with whom I was created to be, I stopped stressing about being someone I will never be, doing what I am not capable of doing, and pleasing the expectations others have of me.  Suddenly I was able to treasure my character traits, to acknowledge my talents and to focus on what I am good at! I felt rather proud of myself and I found ways to add value to people’s lives by being “me”.

I was content and satisfied with myself – I still feel happy and joyful about it, many years later.

*Joy and happiness is long lasting when it comes from deeper within – from your heart.

During a recent difficult time in my life, I realised that, despite my circumstances, my heart still feels joyful and happy.  “How is that possible?” is a question that often came up.

I now know the answer.  During those dark and fearful days, I focused on that which I could be grateful for:  the privilege of waking up to birds’ song;  the support of friends who cooked meals for me;  the opportunity to encourage someone who also experienced difficulty, the fact that I knew what my capabilities are and where I had to draw the line….

I was, and still am, content and satisfied with my circumstances – the blessings, the privileges, the opportunities, no matter how small, show me golden lines (far more worth than silver) around the dark clouds and it is a beautiful picture.

I am joyful and happy to carry that picture in my heart – forever!

May you find your long lasting joy and happiness also through accepting and honouring who you are.  You are unique. You are special. You just need to accept and believe that!

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