Last Saturday I was in LA for O You! and while I am not one for these self-help, kumbaya-esque seminars, I've been thinking about it all week, specifically when Lady O started talking about joy vs. happiness. Oprah is a firm believer that happiness is overrated. She said, "Over the years, if I ask people what they really want, people always say, 'I just want to be happy.' But they don't even know what that really means. I'd much rather be joyful, on any given day, than just happy."
I've been turning this over in my head a lot - especially given the tumultuous year I've had. Let's recap a bit shall we? I moved across the country. Twice. A very serious, spend-the-rest-of-our-lives-together relationship ended. I moved. I changed jobs. Now I am moving again. It has been the most unsettled 365 days of my life and I feel like I'm just now starting to come out of the storm. It's surprisingly taken a lot to start to feel like myself again.
Throughout all of this, the reoccurring sentiment that I heard from friends and family was that they "just wanted me to be happy." And honestly, I'm pretty damn resilient. I thought I was pretty happy. But really, what does that mean? And what is the difference between joy and happiness? I've been thinking about this a lot and while I can't pinpoint anything concrete, there definitely is a difference in feeling joyous over feeling happy. Joyful is like glitter. Pure gold. Effusive, bubbling and on fire. Happiness is contentment. Comfortable, cozy and warm. Nowhere near as intense as joy and it definitely doesn't leave such a lasting impression. So that begs the question - is aiming for happy just aiming for content?
This is such a complex post since everyone experiences emotions differently but I think it's an interesting topic. I'm starting to think that I agree with OW - wouldn't you rather try to set the bar at unadulterated, glittering joy than aim to just be happy?