I recently watched a new film called “Without You,” featuring David Licauco and Shaira Diaz in leading roles. The movie portrayed a simple yet realistic young romance, touching on character and plot elements that left a lasting impact. Amidst the storyline, a particular statement caught my attention: one of the actors advised the female protagonist to find happiness by embracing her true desires.
This prompted me to contemplate what genuinely brings happiness to my own life. While reflecting on my sources of happiness, I realized that many of them were connected to people around me or how they fit into my daily environment.
I began considering what would truly bring me inner contentment. Whether I compiled a list or defined my sources of happiness, they still seemed intertwined with others or my surroundings. This could be similar to your own list, which might involve making money to support family, pursuing a successful career for your children, advancing professionally, achieving recognition, creating a business, or contributing to various causes.
Society ingrains in us the value of being “good” individuals, serving our country, families, faith, humanity, and the planet. We’re taught that prioritizing needs over wants is a conscientious way to live, adhering to societal roles and expectations. Our existence is often defined by service to others, as a life without purpose lacks meaning. However, this isn’t to suggest that we lead disorderly lives; rather, following societal norms can sometimes lead us to become mechanical, hollow beings, stripped of our essence.
An underlying truth prevails—the right time and opportunity to connect with others is paramount. True happiness surfaces from these connections, transforming our lives into meaningful experiences. This connection propels us to live authentically, embracing the life we’ve been given. It underscores that before we can contribute to a greater whole, we must first realize our own identity and existence.
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”- Colossians 1:17
Amidst the complexity of existence, there’s beauty in the mundane—the melody of a morning bird’s chirp, the comfort of warm coffee, raindrops dancing on windows, rainbows gracing the sky, the first smile of a newborn, the antics of pets, a fleeting glance from a crush. These seemingly insignificant moments hold the power to evoke profound joy. Moreover, nurturing ourselves can also lead to joy, a feeling that counteracts the elusiveness of mere happiness.
However, there’s a fine line between self-nurturing and selfishness. While it’s crucial to consider our own desires, it’s important not to become excessively self-centered. Striking this balance can be tricky; the challenge lies in preserving our individuality within relationships. Often, in pursuit of shared happiness, we may compromise our personal joy. Yet, authentic joy empowers us to enrich our surroundings, recharging our hearts and contributing positively to our environment.
Choosing to seek joy within ourselves, rather than relying on external circumstances, can shield us from emotional exhaustion. An ancient adage emphasizes the healing power of a cheerful heart and warns against a spirit worn down by despondency.
“A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones – Proverbs 17:22”
Distinguishing between happiness and joy, though subtle, yields a profound revelation. As I delved deeper into this exploration, I found solace and contentment, appreciating the difference between the two. Joy emerges as a more profound, enduring sentiment rooted in selflessness, spiritual connection, and a sense of purpose. On the other hand, happiness tends to align with external factors and immediate sensory experiences. Recognizing these contrasts can guide us toward a life brimming with vitality and fulfillment.
Tell-tale differences between happiness and joy
Happiness is often fleeting and temporary. It can be a momentary feeling that arises and fades relatively quickly. It is linked to sensory and emotional experiences and tends to be short-lived
Joy is more enduring and stable. It has a lasting presence even in the face of challenges and difficulties. This inner contentment remains constant, providing a sense of security and peace that persists over time
While happiness can bring positive feelings, it may sometimes lack the depth and spiritual significance associated with joy.
Joy often carries a deeper spiritual dimension. It can arise from experiences of inner peace, spiritual connection, and a sense of purpose that transcends the material world.
Resilience and coping
Happiness may be more vulnerable to external changes and challenges. It can be easily disrupted by adverse circumstances and may not provide the same level of resilience.
Joy, being internally grounded, tends to be more resilient in the face of adversity. It can provide strength and stability, enabling individuals to navigate challenges without losing their sense of contentment and inner peace.