Difference Between Joy vs Happiness

Difference Between Joy vs Happiness

When people have a conversation in the English language, it is not uncommon to see them use joy and happiness interchangeably. While this mistake has become commonplace, we must never fail to point out that there is a difference between happiness and joy. You are probably going through this guide because you have encountered such a communication error.

Well, it would help if you learned the distinction between them because knowledge is power. So, in the next couple of minutes, you will come to grasp the contrasts. In the end, you will be able to use them with rock-solid confidence. Now, we will kick off this joy vs happiness tutorial by defining the terms.

Definition of Joy

Joy is a feeling of intense satisfaction and peace of mind. Feel free to describe it as the quality that comes with inner peace. When people are in this state, you can see them enjoying life despite living in a world of endless challenges. So, it is safe to say that this state of mind comes from within oneself. It is devoid of any form of mental turmoil. Even though the state of mind has to do with oneself, numerous external factors can change it.

One easy way to explain what the concept means is by painting a picture of you helping someone who is in extreme poverty. Unsure of the next meal, the person runs to you for assistance. You are in a position to help.

Well, you go ahead and offer that much-desired support, thus becoming the person’s glimmer of hope. Without mincing words, the needy person will express heartfelt appreciation.

Sure, you will be absolutely delighted that you could help even though you were not compelled to. You feel fulfilled; this is joy in action. However, joy neither lasts for a moment nor is it defined as a flash in the pan. It lasts for a long time. Put simply, it shows that you lead a fulfilled life.

Definition of Happiness

Happiness is a sweet feeling that comes as a result of an external factor. Sure, the driving force behind happiness can be materialistic. More often than not, this state of mind does not last for a long time, as the external initiator can terminate anytime.

Despite that, it is the feeling that shows that someone is delighted about something. The thing in question could be the strengthening of bonds, gift items, mutual understanding, compliments, etc. Going back to the previous example, the needy person will be happy because you have given him food.

Here is the caveat though. The person may return for a second time, and you might turn him down, telling him that times are pretty hard. Well, this means that you have terminated the person’s happiness, as the comment will remind him how miserable he is.

It is often said that he who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing. In other words, happiness is temporary or momentary because the external force that initiated it can easily terminate it at the drop of a hat. Indeed, you are the external factor in this context.

Main Difference Between Joy vs Happiness

Earlier, you probably wondered, “What is the difference between joy and happiness?” Well, the table below will satisfactorily answer that question.

Basis for ComparisonJoyHappiness
DefinitionAn internal, long-lasting feeling of pleasureAn externally initiated state of mind that creates a feeling of pleasure
SourceThe source is withinThe source is external
FoundationIt often has a moral foundationIt is usually based on material things or gains
OutcomeSelf-realization and greater satisfactionMutual understanding, strengthening of bonds, admiration, etc. 
Duration or timeframeLasts for a very long timeLasts for a shorter time

Difference Between Joy and Happiness: Conclusion

In conclusion, we have to mention that the two words are English nouns. It is little wonder that many people use them interchangeably. Having come thus far, you will have learned the wide chasm between them. Winding up, this happiness vs joy guide will be incomplete without reemphasizing the fact that while the former lasts for a shorter time, the latter lasts for a long time.