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The Difference between Happiness and Joy March 26, 2007

Filed under: happiness,joy,philosophy — bookwritegirl @ 10:21 am

A friend of mine and I have been noticing just how many people think happiness and joy are the one and same thing. I suppose this is particularly true on campus, but it’s true anywhere else. Most people want to be happy; that’s a good goal. But a far more nobler goal is joy. What’s the difference, you say?

Happiness is fleeting. Eating a large M&M coookie makes me happy, but only for the time I ate it. Sleeping with someone may make you happy, but only at that moment, and when it’s over, you’re searching for something else to make you happy. Killing somebody may make you happy, but you can see the consequence. People who pursue happiness are constantly swinging from one “happy” event to another, and if they don’t catch hold of that other happy event, they think themselves unlucky. Pursuing happiness can reduce you to the level of animals, who have no sense of right or wrong, only what makes them feel good and what doesn’t.

We, however, are human beings. We are unique in that we can experience joy. My dog is happy when I pet her, but she can’t ever feel joy. What is joy? Joy is the lasting feeling one feels after bearing hardships, trials, and crosses, and coming out on the top. If I found a million dollars in cash in a briefcase in a parking lot, and spent it on frivolous stuff, or even on my college education, I would feel happy and lucky. But if I turned it in to the police and to the money’s rightful owner, and overcame my temptations, I would feel really good about myself, a more lasting form of happiness, aka joy. I would think back to that day I turned it in, and always feel joy. (Actually, someone I know found an endorsed check for approx $1200, and between she and I, we tracked down the owners, and even today I feel glad that I made someone’s day). I also feel joy when I pray the Rosary through the strangely powerful love I feel.

But it’s not everyday that one finds an endorsed check, so how else can you find joy? Here are a few options:

*Enjoy the fact that you’re alive*Pray*Go to your church’s services at least once a week*Love*Forgive someone*Volunteer*Pay someone a compliment*Actually study for a test and get a good grade without cheating*

These are but a few ways of many; feel free to post any other suggestions!

“Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.” Mark Twain

“The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it.” Michel de Montaigne

“Real joy comes not from riches or from praise of men, but from doing something worthwhile.” Sir Wilfred Grenwell

“There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.” Sister Mary Rose McGeady


One Response to “The Difference between Happiness and Joy”

  1. TrailblzrX Says:

    Well said, you really helped put into words what I was thinking as I tried to explain to a friend the difference between happiness and joy

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