THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOY & HAPPINES
Our generation is constantly preaching about “doing what makes us happy” and elevating our happiness above anything else. While being happy is a great feeling, I wanted to take some time to talk about the difference between happiness and joy, and why we should always choose joy. At this point, some of you might be saying that you don’t understand the difference. Well, let me explain it to you friend!
Have y’all ever watched that show One Tree Hill (it’s still one of my favorites to this day)? One of the characters Julian Baker actually had the perfect idea on what happiness is:
“So, I’ve been thinking about this whole being happy thing, and I feel like people get lost when they think of happiness as a destination. We’re always thinking that someday we’ll be happy; we’ll get that car or that job or that person in our lives that will fix everything. But happiness is a mood, and it’s a condition, not a destination. It’s like being tired or hungry, it’s not permanent. It comes and goes, and that’s okay. And I feel like if people thought of it that way, they’d find happiness more often.” – Julian Baker
I mean, is there a better way to describe this? I’ve always felt like we put such an emphasis on being happy, that we don’t take happiness for what it truly is: a temporary emotion that comes and goes. Just like any other emotion, sometimes we’re in the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We could spend a whole day being happy, and then one thing can completely alter the course of our emotions.
So, why is it that we as a generation talk so much about being happy, but yet so many of us are more depressed and miserable than ever before? I believe it’s because our culture is so narcissistic and places so much value on “getting” that it’s leaving us feeling empty. We want to get that “perfect relationship”. We want to have that “perfect career”. We want to have all the success and achievements. We want to acquire all of the wealth in the world. We want to have the “perfect life”. Then, once all of that has been achieved, we’ll all be happy…right? The reason our generation is so unhappy and so broken is because we’re looking for eternal value in temporary things. Life is hard friend, and no relationship, job, achievement, or large sum of money will be able to satisfy you.
But, do you want to know what joy is? Joy is the unwavering, steadfast, jubilant state of mind that can only come from within. Joy is not an emotion that changes from day-to-day based on your circumstances, but rather an inner peace in which you choose to live your life out of. Joy is not based on how other people view you, what people say to you or any other external factor. This state of mind is a constant that comes from your internal self. Achieving joy requires you start the hard work down on the inside of you in order to come to a place where you accept yourself for who you are, how you are and why you are.
Joy has been a journey for me, and it’s required me to dig deep and get a better understanding of who I am as a person. I had to ask myself the tough questions that I had been avoiding for years. Why are you so insecure? Why do you let other people define who you are? Why do you have so much self-hatred? Who told you that you weren’t good enough? Why do you push people away? Why do you make it so hard to let people in? Why do you have such a hard time forgiving people? These are the questions I would meditate on daily in order to begin my healing process.
Little by little through lots of prayer and meditation, I would begin to ask God to help shift my perspective. Sometimes, you just need a new mindset to change your life, not necessarily a new relationship, a new job or any new material thing. Once I started asking God to change me from the inside out, I was able to start answering some of these questions and it’s been life changing for me. Now, I’m able to carry joy into any situation, and my mindset isn’t dependent on what other people think or what other people say. People can easily rob you of your happiness, but when you’re firm in who you are, no one will be able to steal your joy.
So friend, I really hope you start choosing joy over happiness. Life is entirely too short to be living it based off of our fickle emotions. How do you plan on choosing joy today?