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Happiness and Joy

Happy child eating watermelon

Happiness and Joy may seem as if they go hand in hand, but sometimes they don’t. While they are both positive emotions, they have different attributes and come from different places.

Happy child eating watermelonFor me, happiness is the end point.  Happiness is circumstance based, whereas joy is a more spiritual quality. Joy takes many turns and twists along the way and is based on emotional well-being and inner peace. Think about  going on vacation. While being on vacation will make you happy, it is a finite event or a destination. The process of getting to the vacation may require planning, saving money, requesting time off, and other tasks. The process of all that planning may give you joy because it is leading to the moment you step out on vacation. However, the journey of planning may not make you happy every step of the way. There could be setbacks that occur. Your car could breakdown setting you back financially or there could be an emergency at work requiring you to push back the timing of your vacation. Neither situation is ideal, but you can still experience joy because you know and can anticipate the end result. Once you are on vacation you will be happy but the process, though it may have some bumps along the way, may be joyful.

Happiness is fleeting. Upon your return from your vacation that relaxed, happy feeling usually only lasts for a brief time. This is similar to going shopping and the rush you feel when you buy something. After that transaction is done the feeling usually dissipates in a short time. But assume you bought that something for a special event. Looking forward to that event and going to shopping for that special something can be a joyous experience, especially if you like shopping. ?

In a few words, I think happiness happens to us, and though we look for it, we don’t always find it. Joy lives inside of us, and we can cultivate it and keep it with us through whatever else is going on in our lives.

“The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.” – J.D. Salinger

Have a joyous weekend.