Joy Lessons Week 3


I’ve been mulling over the difference in joy and happiness.

Are they the same emotion? Completely different? Similiar?

Here’s how my dictionary defines them:



After reading those definitions and still feeling uncertain, I started doing some searching. It appears there is a great debate going on if these two words – emotions – are in fact the same.

From what I found, what I feel, and what I know, I think they are similar, but also have differences.

To me, happiness seems more external while joy is internal.

What I mean by that is that happiness is often driven by something we’ve experienced. It often stems from an object, or a person, or a circumstance.Example: you received an unexpected bonus, word of praise, or tasted something decadent – and those things make you feel happy. Happiness is not a constant, but comes and goes.

I think joy is driven by what’s happening in our heart and soul. When we reach out to help someone and we experience a warm, fuzzy feeling – that’s joy. Joy is connected to gratitude and compassion, gratefulness and magnanimity. Joy bubbles up from an internal well and can be present even in times of grief and pain.

For lack of a better way to describe it, I see happiness  tied to our heads while joy is tied to our hearts.

These are just my thoughts and opinions. I’d love to hear how you view joy and happiness.

As we go through this year’s journey of joy, maybe we’ll all learn some new ideas in defining these two emotions.

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