A few days ago a friend wondered aloud if happiness and joy were the same. I said that my experience has been that they are different, but I welcomed the question and promised to look into it.
A website that was a good starting place is Diffen It looks at both words side-by-side under several different categories. Another helpful site, Lessons 4 Living says, “joy is related to happiness, but it is a deeper experience. In the search for happiness the individual focuses upon himself, but joy moves a person out of a self-centered preoccupation and provides an orientation towards others.” The author goes into some depth in discussing the two words.
In my search I found that “joy” moves one into religious/spiritual territory fairly quickly, whereas “happiness” doesn’t. I like how blogger, Danielle Laporte describes her personal experiences from a spiritual perspective. “Happiness is like rising bubbles — delightful and inevitably fleeting. Joy is the oxygen — ever present.” She suggests that joy is our birthright and the foundation of our being, always there, even in the most difficult times, whereas happiness is fleeting and more dependent on outer circumstances.
I like that. Although I can’t say I’ve touched that all-pervading joy very often, it’s somehow a comfort to think that it’s there, under the surface, ready to reveal itself when all the garbage is swept away.