Lasting Happiness: Finding Your Joy

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Happiness is something heavily sought after. It’s a source of value and worth. Different people have different views on it. Some people claim “money can’t buy happiness”-others beg to differ. In either event there never seems to be a clear cut way to arrive at happy.

I can say for myself, one of the greater things I want out of this life is to be genuinely happy. Issue with that is I’ve had a difficult time finding my happiness-mainly because I didn’t really understand what it meant to be happy. I’ve read books on emotions, and I’ve conveniently turned to my faith. But is seems like when it comes to being truly happy-one size doesn’t fit all.

Does happy mean during the storms in your life, you stay smiling? Does happy mean you always have some childlike joy exuding out of you? Does happiness mean you position things in your life to make you happy? Does happiness come from the outside or inside?

Many people may try to find their happiness in relationships, drugs, cars, clothes, social media, money, careers-all these things create the climate for how happy or unhappy we become. Even though we each find our happiness down different alleys, I believe somethings about finding genuine happiness is universal for all.

Joy v. Happiness Knowing the difference between joy and happy has had a pretty prominent impact on my mental health and well being. I came to the realization that to be genuinely anything, it must be internalized. Yet happiness seems to be more or less influenced by external factors. For example, we add or therefore excuse things from our lives to help us regulate our happiness. Happiness is in fact an emotion elicited from outside sources. Joy however is something we hold within ourselves that we don’t let outside sources influence. We have the power to regulate what can add and take away from our happiness, but joy itself is an internal state of your being that only you can control and nurture. So easily, we can have happiness but not harbor joy. Happiness seems to be a counterpart of joy, but the things that may make us unhappy, cannot waver joy-if you have it.

Happiness is created among choices, joy is simply a choice. Whereas happiness can be created by multiple choices made outside ourselves, joy is simply a choice. Joy is choosing to be genuinely happy without taking multiple aspects into consideration or the circumstances around you. You instill joy within yourself-like a moral or principle, and just like a moral or principle, it isn’t excused or exhausted . Happiness is created by maybe a set of interests or values, therefore having the ability to turn over or change. Throughout someone’s life the things that can make them happy can change, however joy is a consistent state after being obtained.

Happiness is a fluctuating emotion, joy is a state of peace. As stated above, what makes us happy can change which means the intensity of the emotion itself can change or even become depleted at some points. What we value in our happiness is capable of bringing us through the highs in life, and dragging us through the lows. Happiness has the ability to jerk us around-that’s if we don’t have the existence of joy. Joy is a peace-that even though those things that make us happy may be missing, we still have a sense of wholesomeness, sound mind, and sense of importance-leaving our faith and self worth untouched.

You can have both joy and happiness. You can be unhappy and still have joy. You can also have joy and be happy. The way I see it, happiness adheres to the tangible and somewhat temporary things in life-money, relationships, having v. not having, whereas joy attests and adheres to the more concrete and foundational aspects of life-creation, faith, being able to transcend. You can be unhappy about something that went on at work, but still have the ability-or joy to go home and not let it roll over into your ultimate state of mind (or what I like to call it, your “spirit space”). You can also be happy about something at work and go home and not have the ability maintain that happiness simply because you don’t have joy.

How do we find happiness? Well, that is something we create. How do we keep our happiness from affecting our lives entirely (genuine happiness)?  We have to define our reservoir of joy. Happiness is easily influenced and displaced-joy has to be torn or stolen from you.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full
-John 10:10

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