Differences Between Joy And Happiness (With Examples)

Joy and Happiness are two words which we use to express our contentment and describe a pleasant moment, situation or occurrence in our life. These two words are usually used simultaneously or interchangeably as they are deemed to have the same meaning. However, in reality they share a slightly different meaning.

This Article therefore examines the meaning of these two words and the differences which exists between them.

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Meaning of Joy

Joy can simply be defined as the feeling of great pleasure and happiness. It can further be defined as the emotion of delight and pleasure evoked by some good fortune or something exceptionally good, pleasing or satisfying.

Meaning and Differences Between Joy And Happiness
Meaning and Differences Between Joy And Happiness

For example: Tochukwu shed tears of Joy after he saw his result.

The Joy of Samuel know no bounds after he secured the Scholarship.

The arrival of a bouncing baby boy gave the family so much joy.

Additionally, Joy can be defined as the expression of a glad feeling. For instance: Jose Mourinho couldn’t contain his Joy over the sublime display from his team.

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Meaning of Happiness

Happiness is literally the state of being Happy, and being Happy means having a feeling of joy, satisfaction, and fulfilment.

Is there a difference between joy and happiness
Is there a difference between joy and happiness

For example:

Obi was so happy over achieving the feat.

I am happy for the good news brother.

Liverpool fans were so happy after their resounding victory over Manchester United.

Happiness could also be defined as a positive emotional state of satisfaction, accomplishment, and fulfilment. Thus, when you are witnessing this emotional state of happiness, you will be feeling positive rather than Negative about things of life, you will be feeling satisfied with your strides so far, and you will be feeling contented with your current state in Life.

Happiness Vs Joy

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Happiness may be derived from: 

a. Pleasure: This means doing things which will please you and keep you entertained. For example: Watching your favourite team play in a Stadium, playing games, eating your favorite meal, travelling to your favorite location, meeting new people, hanging out with friends and family, are things which could give us pleasure, and when we derive pleasure from it; it provides some source of happiness for us.

b. Passion: Passion is a strong and ardent feeling of affection and devotion to a thing or an activity. Being passionate about doing a thing gives a strong sense of happiness, especially when you successfully accomplish that thing.

c. Purpose: Like I always say “Lack of Purpose poses a huge threat”. Hence, finding your purpose is very important and it also gives a deep sense of fulfilment and happiness.

These three factors synchronize to give us a State of Happiness. On the other hand, the feeling of happiness, emotional delight, and good fortune gives us joy.

I trust you now understand the meaning of Happiness and Joy? Sadly, the above considered meaning of both words does not do Justice in highlighting the differences existing in the two words, rather it implicitly suggests the similarities which clearly exists between the two words, as Joy is defined as a State or feeling of Happiness about a situation, action, or condition, while Happiness is the state of being Happy; which means the state of having a feeling of Joy and satisfaction over a situation, feat, or happening.

The close resemblance in these two definitions, and the import of these two words therefore makes it very important for us to examine the differences which exists between the two words.

Why is joy better than happiness
Why is joy better than happiness

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Differences Between Joy And Happiness

While we can all agree that Joy and Happiness are closely related words, there are a host of differences between them. These differences are:

1. Joy is an inward expression of Satisfaction, Fulfilment, or Happiness: While Happiness is an outward expression of Satisfaction, Fulfilment, or joy. This means that Joy brings pleasure which warms our heart, while Happiness brings pleasure which pleases us and we express such pleasure and satisfaction through our facial or bodily expressions.

For example: If I win a Lottery and get 4 Million Naira, this will bring huge happiness to me which I could express outwardly through my smiles and jubilation, but if I achieve all my set out goals, it will bring Joy and Satisfaction to my heart. 

2. Joy is in the heart, while Happiness is on the face. This is so because when you are very happy, it will be written all over your face. Using the earlier example which I gave, If I win a Lottery or even pass an Examination I thought I would fail, it will bring great happiness to me and at the spur of the moment such happiness will be written all over my face.

On the other hand, If I get married or give birth to Child; it will bring Joy to me and gladden my heart as Joy is in the heart rather than the Face.

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3. Joy may last for a longer period, while Happiness on the other hand, appears to be momentary and usually lasts for a shorter period than Joy.

For instance: If I go out to a place I have long desired to visit, it will give me happiness for just that day or a brief period, but if I achieve all my goals or produce an offspring, it will give me Joy for a longer period.

4. Happiness may be as a result of luck or good fortune, but Joy usually comes from the inner self and is a result of satisfaction and contentment.

Flowing from some earlier considered examples, passing an Examination which you thought you would fail brings Happiness, as such success in the examination is product of luck and good fortune. But Joy on the other comes from self satisfaction or contentment with the progress of yourself or people around you.

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5. Happiness always comes from earthly or material things, while Joy most often comes from Spiritual and Human encounter. For example, Receiving One Million Naira as a Birthday gift brings Happiness, but having an encounter with God brings Joy to our hearts.

6. Another difference between Joy and Happiness is in their respective meaning and the opposite meaning of the two words. While Joy means the feeling of the emotion of delight evoked by some good fortune or an exceptionally good circumstance. Happiness on the other hand, is an emotion of content and satisfaction to an intense pleasure.

Additionally, while the opposite meaning of Joy is fear, the opposite meaning of happiness is unhappiness; which is a state of sadness, misery and lack of satisfaction.

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7. Biblically, Happiness arises as a result of what is happening around us, however Joy comes from what we believe.

8. Happiness is dependent on external circumstances and factors such as Hanging out, chilling, travelling, having fun, eating, et cetera, but Joy is often dependent on Internal circumstances and factors.

9. Finally, Happiness could be used to describe a reaction to something great, while Joy can be used to describe a reaction to the product of someone great. This means that when something great happens to you, you are happy, but when you become someone great or somebody really close to you becomes great, it will give you Joy.

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In conclusion, while we can all agree that Joy and Happiness are synonymous to each other, flowing from the details in this Article, we can now also agree that there are differences between Joy and Happiness as explicitly examined in this Article.