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Happiness or Joy? A Subtle Difference

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on April 20, 2019 13:48

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Learning to be joyful is different than seeking happiness. A lesson I learned in a most beautiful way.

Yesterday I attended the celebration of life ceremony of a very dear friend’s mom. She was the type of woman who was both strong and sweet all at the same time and I know my friend gets much of her tenacious and loyal traits from her mom. The pastor’s message made me think about something that still has me deep in thought this morning.

Most people don’t know there is a difference between happiness and joy.

He went on to explain that happiness is based on circumstances while joy is based on the deep faith and confidence that everything is good. Good circumstances make you happy while bad circumstances make you less happy or unhappy. But, joy remains in your life even when bad things happen because you have a deeper sense of trust.

It was a poignant moment for me to have the difference laid out in such a simple way.

For those who study self-empowerment and coaching programs, this difference is not always distinguished. The result is missing out on goal success. If you are merely changing the self-talk in a way that is goal driven, your success will always and only yield happiness or unhappiness.

If you focus on a shift to work towards goals based on priorities and build an internal system of faith, you will find greater joy not just in the accomplishments, but also in the journey. Everyone talks about how you should love the process and the journey but this was the first time I have heard someone explain it so succinctly. 

It was perfect to honor my friend’s mom who truly was a woman of joy even in the times of her life when obstacles were overwhelming. His ideas truly brought joy to my heart as I began to see the difference between a typical funeral and a celebration of life. It was a first for me and I hope to embrace my new understanding of this and apply it in many different ways.

Kimberlee Leonard

Posted on April 20, 2019 13:48

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