Many people see happiness and joy as the same things. However, there would seem to be some quite deep differences in how we perceive these and how we act them out. So, consider these differences:

  • Happiness is an emotion which you express in many different ways, while joy is an inner feeling of wellbeing, peace and contentment;
  • Happiness is given to you by earthly experiences and material objects where you are filled with joy by such things as caring for others, gratitude, thankfulness and spiritual experiences;
  • Happiness is temporary and is based on outward experiences while joy can be lasting and is based on inward circumstances;
  • Happiness is not constantly present in the midst of life’s ups and downs. However, you can hold joy in your heart no matter what is happening around you and that can help you overcome anything and everything in this world;
  • Happiness can be experienced with good activity, food or company while joy requires no such stimulus.

So, it would seem that happiness is fleeting and ultimately never satisfying as we are always looking for the next thing that will bring us that happiness. So instead of looking outwardly for what will make us happy, perhaps it is time to look inwardly to what brings us joy.

Joy is existential – it’s about how you live your life. It comes from within you and is about your belief system. You can only have happiness in good circumstances but you can have joy no matter what is going on in your life – good or bad. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Joy is an inner feeling of wellbeing, peace and contentment and an underlying belief that you are on the right path and exactly where you are meant to be in life. Does this mean everything is wonderful? Not necessarily. But joy can be the underlying feeling within no matter what is happening externally

This is a good time to think about what life really means to you. Perhaps it’s not about material things. So, try letting go of the distraction that they bring, and try focusing on finding what will allow you to find the pure joy within. Make the choice of filling your body with those bubbles of joy that leave you feeling light and full of peace and contentment and recognised that the feeling of joy carries no burdens or expectations – it is an attitude that you can choose to have.

Perhaps the truth is that you are never going to be happy unless you carry joy within. Visualise happiness as an end goal but joy as the milestones that will lead you to that goal.

Barbara Hand, Spirit Wings, 13.5.20