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The Difference Between Joy and Happiness
Joy Flows Continually, Happiness is Conditional
Perceptions on Joy and Happiness
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 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!”