Coffee & Naughty Thoughts

Author Linda Bolton - Writer, Blogger

Can You Have Joy Without Happiness

I have many friends searching for something…happiness. We all want it but how do you find it? What exactly are they looking for? Long-term joy or short-term happiness?
Unfortunately, we are so caught up in our microwavable-instant lives that we want immediate happiness. 24 hours a day. Any mature adult knows life doesn’t really work that way. Sure we have happy moments in our day, things that bring a smile to our faces, a belly laugh or a warm fuzzy feeling, but that isn’t joy. Joy is long-term, weathers the rough waters, the prosperous and lean times, and can take years to cultivate.
I believe some of us are born with inner-joy. Or maybe we are taught very young by our parents, inadvertently. I think I am one of those people. Oh, sure, I’ve had hard times, sobbing moments that lasted longer than I care to revisit, but overall, I look on the bright side. I know tomorrow will be better. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m not saying optimists are the only ones who know joy. On the contrary, I know optimists that have a hard time finding joy. They have moment to moment happiness, struggling to figure out how to make it last. At the same rate, I know pessimists that have long-term joy. It’s the only thing keeping them going every day.
Let’s define happiness vs. joy. The attached chart should help (thanks to Google):
Comparison chart
Happiness
Joy
Example:
Winning a lottery will make one happy
Giving birth to a child will bring joy.
Time frame:
Momentary
Long lasting
Emotion:
Pleases a person
Warms ones heart
Causes:
Luck, fortune, other self pleasures
caused by over all contentment, soul satisfying incidents
Meaning:
Happiness is an emotion in which one experiences feelings ranging from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure.
Joy is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
I have always been taught happiness is fleeting; it’s in the moment. Joy is something that
sustains you. I have many friends that are only happy as long as the moment is a “happy one”.
As soon as things are difficult, sad, or tempers flare, they say they are unhappy and want to give  up. Taking life as a whole is the key to joy. In the grand scheme of things is life pretty good? Are the things that are most important to you where you want them?
Maybe the answer is in not taking life so seriously. I’m not talking the case of various forms of
abuse or neglect. Those are situations better addressed somewhere else. I’m talking in the
average person’s life. The old cliché – not seeing the forest from the trees might apply here. We can focus so intently on a decayed tree, we miss the beauty of the healthy trees. Some of my friends have adopted my favorite quote – “It is what it is”. Some things you just can’t change and you have to accept them as they are or they can stress you, but overall is it small compared to all the other things in life? In days to come will it become a faded memory? Don’t let this one unhappy situation rob you of your joy. 

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1 Comment

  1. Wonderful article…food for thought!I would like to repost that on WGT!Siggy The Former Matchmaker and author of http://www.NextTimeLucky.com

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