Happiness vs Joy

I don't go on Facebook very often. Maybe once a day. I'm pretty busy and am not interested in my friends’ minute-to-minute going ons. I prefer conversation. I'm old fashioned, I guess.

One of my close friends was disgusted by a couple’s posts on how to have a great marriage. She didn't like their advice because they don’t have children. According to her their ignorance can skew their advice. The couple had launched a life coaching business where they focus on health, wealth, and relationships. I know them. But they've stopped talking to me because I'm a bit silly. And I have a potty mouth.

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I tried talking to them about deeper things, but I felt they were closed to my ideas.

I decide to wade through the couple's posts and see what they have to offer. One video shows the wife saying something to the effect of "Nobody likes to be yelled at in public." I think she’s talking about respect and how to communicate with your partner. I'm not the best example, since all of my relationships have failed. However, failure is the nature of relationships. The first thing that comes to mind is that no one likes to be yelled at. Period. Unless they're in the throes of ecstasy. Then yelling can excite the activity. Or frighten little children.

They also have a video series on happiness. That peaks my interest. After hearing the advice that nobody likes to be yelled at in public, I am not too hopeful. The series talks about being grateful, having passions, having someone to love and love you back to increase your happiness. In my view, this isn't happiness. It's joy.

Joy is the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires. So if I get a big raise, I'll feel joy. If I sleep with a hot woman, I’ll feel a lot of joy. A lot. Buying stuff can evoke joy. Hence America's problem with credit card debt.

Happiness is the constant. Humans are inherently happy. Young children are evidence of this. For the most part, they're a content group of people. It may not seem like it, due to the yelling, screaming, and bad behavior. However, that's the nature of children.

Their imaginations can be captured so easily. How often do little girls have tea parties with inanimate objects? Or boys running around fighting imaginary monsters. Remember the Floor is Lava game?

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Happiness is contentment. As humans, we don't need much. Food. Water. Shelter. Health. We're good. Having only those things may not bring joy, the experiences that fill the dullness of life. But the issue is that we cover that contentment with shit like I'm a loserfeeling that thought instead.

Going back to the couple. Their videos focus on rearranging the outside world to fit what they think it should look like, fulfilling an expectation that can bring joy, which can feel like happiness. But it's not. Imagine rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. That ain't gonna stop the ship from sinking. You have to look within yourself for happiness.

The minute we NEED things like an awesome car, the perfect job, and a guy that checks off the long list of requirements is when we can become discontent with life. Wanting those things, knowing we don’t need them, allows us to enjoy the luxuries of life for what they are. Experiences. 

What about being grateful? That’ll make us happy. Right, Jimmy? It depends on what they mean by being grateful. If they require that you have to say "Thank you for this blah, blah, blah...", or have a notebook full of gratefulness, then no, it's not correct. You simply are grateful or you take some things for granted. Both happen on a daily basis without us even noticing. I'm not saying don't be thankful. Keep a notebook of gratefulness if you want. I'm just saying the act of being grateful isn't necessary to be content. Saying I love you to someone that you detest isn't going to make you love them.

The couple does hit on something that I agree with. Status. A lot of people go into credit card debt keeping up with the Joneses, which is an act of rearranging the furniture on the Titanic. So materialistic endeavors don't contribute to happiness, but that doesn't mean you can't derive joy from it. I ride a motorcycle because I enjoy riding. It surprised me how much I love it. But I don't use it as a status symbol.

The only issue that I have with the couple stating that status shouldn't matter is that their Facebook posts are filled with materialistic luxuries. From the few that I have seen, they seem to have the top of the line stuff. Again. I'm not against this. But why post it for everyone to see? Why not just enjoy what you have?

What they're practicing isn't aligning with what they’re saying. Action speaks louder than words.

Happiness comes from within. It’s our natural state. That doesn’t mean we can’t cry or have bad moments. But if we clear our minds, we come back to that natural state of contentment.