Joy vs Happy (1 min. read)

These two words are not synonymous, regardless of how many ways you use it. A person can be joyful while lacking happiness and be happy without joy.


I define this as a higher feeling that begins internally and is long-lasting. It is something that is marked on your soul and heart rather than your face. A joyful person lights up the room with their optimism. They don’t have to utter a single word or share a small smile. They just dwell in its essence.


I define happy as an actionable abstraction. It’s like the average “love”. I love ice cream is different, or at least should be, to one’s parent. This is shown physically and outwardly rather than inwardly. It varies by the situation and people surrounding you.

  • Passing an exam brings out happiness.
  • Getting a negative test result brings out joy (and relief).
  • Passing a longstanding exam needed to accomplish your career brings both.
  • Maybe you planned a surprise party for a friend- happiness
  • Maybe your friends planned a surprise party for you- joy
  • Visiting a destination you’ve always wanted to after years of saving and planning – happiness and joy (a combined result of gratitude)

I’ve seen quotes and saying encouraging people to be joyful rather than happy; however, I disagree. Being happy is important for the present moment, but so it joyfulness. We should strive for happiness while journeying to joy, a foundational fruit of the spirit.

Be outwardly happy and inwardly joyful.

Be the abstraction and the essence.

Be a light.

Be you.

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