HAPPINESS AND JOY: Same or Different?

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.




2 thoughts on “HAPPINESS AND JOY: Same or Different?

  1. Kim Owsley

    i read the above because a friend asked me to, I found it interesting that almost immediately I disagreed with the writer completely. I have never looked up th dictionary definitions of either word, have never felt a need to. For some things I do but as a person who in the past has been profoundly unhappy, I personally believe it to be the oppisite. Happiness is soul deep and often difficult to obtain. Joy can be found in many ways even by a person who is unhappy with themselves and their life if they can find a way to look for it. For me being able to find joy in small things and in big things helped me find true happiness. I truly believe that while they are different, you cannot have one without they other and theat they are two halves of the same whole.


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