The main difference between joy and happiness is that the joy is the result of your inner peace and satisfaction while happiness is a result of an external force that makes you happy or satisfied.
Joy and happiness are psychological necessities for our lives. Without either of them, our lives will be monotonous and dull and will eventually result even in creating stress and depression in our lives. Therefore, both these are wonderful feelings that make us feel elated, thus giving hope in everything. However, similar they may seem, they are different.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Joy
– Definition, Source, Characteristics
2. What is Happiness
– Definition, Source, Characteristics
3. What is the Similarity Between Joy and Happiness
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Joy and Happiness
– Comparison of Key Differences
Life, Joy, Happiness, Happy, Psychology
What is Joy
Joy refers to the feeling of self- satisfaction and the peace of mind. As expressed by Lord Buddha, “When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves”. Hence, joy is the result of our inner peace and the great pleasure that follows it. Thus, unlike happiness, joy comes from within oneself.
Thus, joy is the ultimate feeling of peace, satisfaction, and bliss, devoid of mental turmoil. Therefore, many people believe that joy is deeper and more consistent than happiness, which can alter with the external force that triggered it. Therefore, it can be noted that joy has a more spiritual element to it as well.
Consider the peace and contentment you feel by helping someone needy in the last moment of that person’s life, you will feel the loss of that person, yet deep inside you will feel content for doing the best to him or her before that person is gone forever. Or think of the joy you feel by feeding and taking care of a weak stray puppy. This feeling is incomparable; thus will last longer and deeper, even until our last breath.
As Miroslav Volf points out joy is “the emotional dimension of the good life, of a life that is both going well and is being lived well”.
What is Happiness
Happiness is the nice feeling of great pleasure often occurring as a result of some external force. For example, there are varied causes of happiness to a person depending on their surroundings, food or the people he or she associates.
Consider the feeling of happiness or delight you feel when someone gives you a surprise birthday treat or gives you a free ticket to fly to your favourite place. Here, the causes of your happiness are external, that is, something gifted to you by someone else. Unlike joy, it is not what you find within your own self.
Similarly, if these causes are removed or taken away from us, the feeling of happiness or the overjoyed nature we felt will be removed or taken away from us as well. Therefore, happiness is not consistent as joy; in other words, happiness is often dependable on these causes.
Similarity Between Joy and Happiness
- Both joy and happiness are pleasurable feelings that humans need to lead a good life devoid of negative impulses like pain and suffering.
Difference Between Joy and Happiness
Joy is the result of our inner peace and satisfaction while happiness is the result of an external force that brings satisfaction to us.
The source of joy is within ourselves. On the contrary, the source of happiness is external; for example, things like friends, surrounding, work, food, etc.
Joy has a moral attribute to it whereas happiness is has a more a materialistic attribute to it.
The outcome of joy is self-realisation and supreme satisfaction while the outcome of happiness maybe mutual understanding, strengthening of our bonds with others, admiration, etc.
Since joy is inner peace and satisfaction, it is more consistent or long-lasting while happiness is not that consistent since it typically depends on the external force that brings happiness to us.
Joy and happiness are positive impulses we have in our lives. Therefore, they make our lives more colourful and give more meaning to our existence. Most people understand joy and happiness as the same, which is wrong. The difference between joy and happiness is that joy is the result of your personal satisfaction while happiness is a result of an external force that makes you happy or satisfied. Thus, there is a clear distinction between these two psychological stances.
1. “Joy.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Aug. 2018, Available here.
2. Volf, Miroslav (Spring 2016). Joy and Human Flourishing. Fortress Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-4514-8207-2.
3. “Happiness.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 1 Aug. 2018, Available here.