Though lexicographers may beg to differ, I don’t believe happiness and joy are synonymous.

Happiness, bless her heart, is a cheap slut who can be bought among the racks of perfectly fitting jeans, or found idling in an empty, front-row parking space on a rainy day. Happiness is everywhere, if you keep your eyes and heart open.

Happiness can be chased down, captured and carried home (sometimes kicking and screaming) until it is gently fed, clothed and nurtured enough that it becomes a member of the family.

Happiness can be sought. And the seeking of it can become a healthy habit, a family ritual, a best-selling book.

But there’s no seeking joy. Joy finds us. We can (and should) take charge of the happy in our lives, but the joy has to grow slowly and quietly from the inside out. Although it may often take root in the happy moments, joy develops without the constant fine-tuning or awareness that happiness often requires. Joy can grow without sunshine.

What brings me joy is the knowledge that when I feel it, way down in my bones, I know that it comes from a place of deep and pure presence.

I know that joy can’t be forced any more than it can be described. I know that the very best thing about joy is that, unlike happiness, I can’t fake it or make it.

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This post is part of SOYJOY‘s What brings you joy contest. Learn more here.


  1. Deep! Great insight! I’m now pondering this…….

    I agree that joy can not be explained…..only felt. It would take words that haven’t been invented yet. Which is why I only submitted a video. Words just wouldn’t cut it in describing the tingly warm feeling somewhere between your spleen and heaven….

  2. Gorgeous. My happiness is the 10 minutes I stole this morning to have my coffee and cereal. My joy …. just being … here.

  3. This did cause me to stop and consider what brings me joy-knowing my family is able to face life’s surprises with grace & wisdom. Thank you for the wonderful post.

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