Have you ever searched for happiness and noticed that the pursuit of happiness actually made you sad or depressed? All too often we search for happiness, when we need to pursue states of joy.
Many feel their happiness or “peace” in their life will come once they get that raise, publish that book or marry that man. Many people are not spiritually evolved enough to distinguish the difference between internal and external happiness. And most people chase the external world to fulfill their inner world happiness.
Happiness, like a treadmill starts and stops frequently. Many people believe that once they reach a state of happiness that life will be forever smooth sailing. This is not the case. Life is a continuous process of processing life situations, emotions and events.
Happiness is not forever. Happiness is defined as "a state of being happy." And being happy is defined as, "a feeling or showing pleasure or contentment." Why is being happy so difficult?
What most people lack in their life is contentment. As stated above, most people seek material things or pleasures from the external world in order to fulfill their inner world.
Without contentment, we never seem to have enough in life, which is ironic as modern society is the most abundant life mankind has ever experienced. We want more money. We want a nicer car, better clothes, a better job title – most people are not content with what they currently have or own. And most people do not appreciate the basics such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
And when we’re not content, how can we be happy?
Happiness seems like an end point, but life has no end point until we’re six feet underground. Even if you reach a state of happiness, life will flow like a river with highs and lows. We will enter time periods of happiness and sadness. It is the reality of life.
Joy on the other hand is, defined as “The emotion evoked by well being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires,” and a “feeling of great pleasure and happiness.”
I don’t believe that joy stems from success or good fortune. I see it as an internal fulfillment of being content and finding love and joy in the divine.
Whether you call the above, God, the creator or the universe, receiving love from the divine is one of the best moments of joy one can experience. God loves us unconditionally. It's the same unconditional love you receive from a pet.
We find joy through things that we love like reading a book, hanging out on a beach, cooking for friends, making love to a spouse. Joy is living in the moment and enjoying the happiness from that activity. Generally, happiness is connected to material items as an outcome or reward once you achieve or get something.
Joy is also appreciating what you have during times of stress and chaos. We may not be happy, but somehow we can be thankful and find gratitude in one area of our life.
Happiness is an emotion. Joy is an attitude of the heart.
Emotions, like the ocean, ebb and flow, and happiness, like our human body, is a temporary experience. We are emotional high addicts (stimulus and response). It’s why people are shopping/drug/sex/food addicts.
Eventually, the “high” of the new item wears off. And we need more of the stimulant in order for the body to respond with that happiness / high feeling.
Happiness will come, and happiness will go. It is important to find the joy in everything, even during the hard times, as these are the moments where you grow and transform your life.
What do you think about happiness? Is it better to chase joy instead of happiness?
Elizabeth Rae Kovar M.A. is Author of her memoir, Finding Om and is a Fitness Trainer, Yogi, Reiki Master, Presenter and Lover of Life. To view her portfolio please visit www.elizabethkovar.com