We spend a lot of time in search of happiness, which I define as a blissful state of satisfaction. Being happy makes everything a little easier—work, family, life—and even where there are hard tasks ahead, happiness seems to make them less daunting, less onerous, less tasking.
When I am happy, I can roll with whatever punches life throws at me, and nicely have found that life throws fewer punches when I am happy.
And although not perfectly so, I find happiness is infectious. When I exude happiness, I am no longer perceived as a threat to those around me and therefore allow others to stay in their own happy place, or in some cases, make it easier for them to experience happiness.
Although happiness may initially have an external source or motivation—a job you love, good friends—it is very internal. It is a state you choose to be in. And any external impact it has is purely passive; a choice others make in its presence.
Thus, I believe, there is another level beyond happiness that is more active, more empowering, and if taken wrong, possibly more intimidating.
Where happiness is about contentment, satisfaction and peace, joy is the embodiment of love, laughter, engagement and play. Joy takes happiness and dials it up to 11.
Joy is the ultimate expression of freedom, and as such, it cannot be easily contained. It exudes from every pore, every movement, every thought. It is an aura that precedes your entrance into any space and remains a gleeful echo long after you have moved on.
Joy changes how we see the world around us, finding glimmers of light in even the darkest of moments. It is not about self-delusion or selective memory, but rather a complete reframing of the question of the moment.
Like happiness, joy is a choice we make as individuals. But it is a more difficult choice to maintain because it ultimately demands an expanded consciousness to what is around us and an eternal openness to the possibilities in life.
As such, joy demands more faith than happiness, which is more easily rationalized.
Happiness, when you choose it, makes sense. Joy doesn’t have to make sense. And perhaps, the less sense joy makes, the more joyful it is.
To embrace the irrational is to truly be open to the possible.
Because it is difficult or impossible to suppress joy—not sure I know why you would want to—joy can be seen as obnoxious or intrusive to those who have yet to find their happiness or joy. That is unfortunate for those individuals.
For those in joy, however, this is another opportunity to explore, understand and exchange. In this way, joy begets joy, even if not always from person to person.
All this to say that while I continue to explore happiness in my life, I have chosen to embrace joy and hope to share it with as many people as I can.
It is my gift to myself and to others.