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The Difference Between Joy and Happiness

Updated on June 18, 2011

Joy Flows Continually, Happiness is Conditional

Joy is that feeling that is wrapped in Light and Life!
Joy is that feeling that is wrapped in Light and Life!

Perceptions on Joy and Happiness


When I was very young, I thought the word “joy” was only in Christmas carols. I thought that “joy” was directly related to some miraculous event, like the birth of Jesus or when any child is born. I thought that joy was temporary, based on the particular event that brought about that feeling. I also used to think that “happiness” was based on events that were temporary but that people had more of a chance to be “happy” than they did to be “joyful” because I thought that people that were truly happy were the ones that went around smiling all the time. I can’t say that I ever knew too many people that smiled all that much but from my confused perception, I knew there must be some people in the world that smiled more than others, so someone had to be truly happy somewhere!

I realize now that I had it backwards. I have learned in my older years that “happiness” comes from “happenings”, that most of the time it is based on temporary, external events. “Joy”, I have learned, comes from the internal part of us. It is contentment, peace, acceptance, gratitude, and a deep-down-from-the-spirit-part-of-us wisdom in knowing that all things are as they should be. All current difficult circumstances are temporary (if we remember, “this, too, shall pass”) and our emotions are not controlled by the events, circumstances and surroundings in our life. We have the empowerment within us to choose our own emotions about things, to not become embroiled in the whirlwind of negativity that sometimes seems to suffocate us. We were born with an innate greatness, an innate ability to overcome.

Sometimes, you may wonder, “What is the use? Why should I not just give up? Why should I keep trying to survive? What is the point, when every time I turn around, something else “horrible” happens?” Well, let me tell ya - my perception is this: not one single person on this planet was born without a purpose. Not one single human being is here without a reason. I have it in my understanding that I have a purpose. I should have died four times already (twice from car accidents when my body was hit by a car, once from being almost choked to death while I was being raped and once from being beaten so badly by my ex-husband that my brain almost came out of my skull.) I figure that because I am still here, I haven’t yet finished fulfilling my purpose. From the time I was about five-years-old, all I ever wanted to do was to help people. I desired to somehow touch their lives and make a difference in a positive way. I know now that whether I touch someone’s life or not, I still have joy. It is a constant feeling of contentment and peace, not just a fleeting moment of “happiness” because I think I did something “good” for someone.

My joy comes from knowing that I used my “purpose” to reach out to people, even if they don’t reach back. I can’t change those people, nor do I wish to. My greatest hope is that they will someday realize that I have pure intentions, positive goals and a desire to give them a different perspective, a thought that they really can find “goodness” in others. I want to be that example for them.

I have lived through so much “whirlwind of negativity” that I have come to realize that all of it, every single “horrible happening” has passed. I am still here, I am still healthy, for the most part, I still believe in the innate greatness of all humanity, I still believe in miracles, I still see the positive in every situation, every moment that I can. Sometimes it takes me a minute to find the positive in the situation, but I have become clear enough to realize that there truly, truly is a “silver lining” in everything. It’s not what happens that makes or breaks us; it’s how we deal with what happens. We are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS, so if we stay calm, positive, hopeful, and just “BE”, it brings about a far greater positive result than just “DOING” the emotion of fear, panic, resentment, anger or whatever other emotion we could feel.

That’s my perspective. I hope it helps. Thanks for “listening!”



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    • Lene Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Lene' Lynn St. John 

      7 years ago from Glendale, AZ

      Denise, thank you for saying that! God bless you as well! :)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      7 years ago from North Carolina

      Beautiful hub, Lena. You are a brave woman for not allowing anyone or anything to rob you of your spirit. God Bless.

    • Lene Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Lene' Lynn St. John 

      7 years ago from Glendale, AZ

      Claire and Violet, thank you so much for your kind words. I wrote and published a book in 2001 called, "Reality in Disguise" about the strength of the human spirit - based on my life experiences. It is no longer published by my original publishing company but I see it on amazon by a few book sellers. You can also read reviews about it and find out more about me on my website:

      I am so thankful for both of you and for Saddlerider. You are wonderful people and you have much to offer the world. I wish you both peace and blessings for your life! Thank you again for your touching words! *hug*

    • VioletSun profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Saddlerider shared the link to your hub in Facebook, so glad he did as I would have missed this one. My goodness, you have overcome great suffering, and instead of being bitter, the Light of your soul is shining through! Writing these hubs helps and inspires others.

      I can relate to happiness not being dependent on external circumstances, this is the happiness that is not dualistic.

      Voted up and beautiful!

    • Clairepeek profile image


      7 years ago

      Good Morning Lene Lynn,

      I am glad I followed the advice of our friend Saddlerider1 and came to read your hub. This made for an interesting read because I have always seen happiness as a path, not as many think it as state to reach. Your perspective brought depth and most certainly another dimension to my own perception... I like that. Never wondered so much about joy, however, reading you made me check my own heart; and I felt it, the joy you are talking about.

      Your hub is more than just interesting though, because you put a piece of you in it, without veil or anything of the sort... you show, first hand, how to embrace ones life. You are incredible and so is your writing ^_^

      Thank you for a great read.


    • profile image

      Lene Lynn 

      7 years ago

      Ken, God bless you, I totally am honored to have found your friendship. I understand your anger very well indeed. I did learn a long time ago that "anger is just fear out loud" and that F-E-A-R stands for "False Expectations Appearing Real"...if I keep those two truths in mind, it helps dissipate the anger sometimes. Anger only destroys us from the inside out, moreso than those the people or situations that are the focus of that anger. Most of the time, the people who have abused us or hurt us, don't even know we are angry since they aren't around us anymore, most of the time. We, as individuals, are too precious and too valuable to let such an insidious killer as anger to destroy us. We deserve so much more! Thank you for your kindness and the part of you that allows tears to flow when you feel the pain of someone who is much like you. Namaste'! I wish you all the joy your heart can hold!

    • saddlerider1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Lene Lynn you brought a tear to this man's face. I feel your pain and misfortune, yet here you are uplifting not only to yourself but to so many others. Adversity is a grand teacher, it gives us inner strength and the will to go on.

      I have been a survivor all of my life and adversity has followed me constantly. I write about much of it in my poetry, the hardest and toughest adversity I have yet to overcome is the lost love of 3 of my 4 children.

      You see when I divorced their mother in 2000 after being married for 19 yrs, she made me pay. She told me that by divorcing her she would insure that I was divorced from our children. Well she held up her words and I am at a loss of love from three.

      I am thankful that my 17 yr old son who lives with me has stood by his Dad. I have Joy buried somewhere underneath my soul, but anger reins there also, they battle constantly and anger often wins and comes forth in my dark scribes. Yet when I am in JOY my spirit, heart and soul work in unison and I am at peace.

      Thank you for leading me to your hub, I look forward to our friendship and sharing. Hugs from this Saddle. Rated UP and all buttons pressed:0)

    • profile image

      Lene Lynn 

      7 years ago

      Heart, thank you! I wrote this hub exactly for the reason you mentioned. Because the bad circumstances in our lives can be used for the betterment of others, that GIVES us a purpose, in a way! I wrote a book in 2001 that is no longer published but there are a few copies still for sale on Amazon, supposedly. It is about the strength of the human spirit, based on my life and it is called "Reality in Disguise" in case you are interested in finding more about my life growing up and being married to an abusive alcoholic for 17 years...thanks so much for reading my article and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it!

    • heart4theword profile image


      7 years ago from hub

      Wow, you have such courage! To go through what you've gone through...and still feel like, everyone has a purpose? The bad circumstances of our lives, can be used for the betterment of others. Even as painful as things get at times...there is always someone who has had it worse than us. Thank you for sharing, such hard things of life! Encouraging Hub.

    • profile image

      Lene Lynn 

      7 years ago

      Thank you so much, Janis. I appreciate your thoughts, that is what life is all about! Blessings to you!

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 

      7 years ago

      I like what you say. I see life that way too. Our attitude makes it all happen. Joy is our birthright, and everything else just passes. I am often filled with a transcendent feeling of rightness, and expand with joy. I am so grateful to be alive.

    • profile image

      Lene' Lynn 

      7 years ago

      Imatellmuva, thank you so much! You keep readin' mine and I'll keep readin' yours! I am really glad I found you, too! :)

    • imatellmuva profile image


      7 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

      whew...Lene Lynn, you are sumth'n! This is truly an amazing and inspirational story! From the heart, from the gut, and every pore of your being!

      Again...I'm glad you found me!!

    • Lene Lynn profile imageAUTHOR

      Lene' Lynn St. John 

      7 years ago from Glendale, AZ

      Thank you so much! :)

    • soneblom profile image


      7 years ago from South Africa

      gREAT hUB!


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