Recently I attended a Weight Watchers meeting and one of the members, Betty Mann McQueen, handed out a flyer comparing Happiness with Joy. Many people might argue that they are the same emotion. But are they really?
I was reminded of a time when I was told by a therapist that I needed to find Joy for myself apart from just making everyone else happy. At the time I was flabbergasted. I had no idea how to do that. Making others happy is what all Christians are supposed to do, isn’t it? And certainly, it is the role a devoted Mom and wife should play, right?
It took many years for me to distinguish the difference. Here’s what Betty M. McQueen, M.S., CFCS has to say:
The difference between joy and happiness lives in the mind and heart:
- Joy is in the heart. Happiness is on the face.
- Joy is of the soul. Happiness is of the moment.
- Joy transcends. Happiness reacts.
- Joy embraces peace and contentment, waiting to be discovered.
- Joy is a practice and a behavior. It’s deliberate and intentional. Happiness comes and goes blithely along its way.
- Joy is an inner feeling. Happiness is an outward expression.
- Joy endures hardship and trials and connects with meaning and purpose.
- A person pursues happiness but chooses joy.
Ask anyone who is chronically depressed. I imagine they know, without doubt, they experience moments of happiness, but Joy eludes them. Psychologists say that happiness is external, reliant on circumstances. But true joy comes from the heart and is a greater extension of happiness…almost a spiritual experience.
How does this relate to being a Creative? In a broad sense, creating gives me joy. When I am creating I feel a sense of:
- gratefulness for my ability
Most of us paint or draw things that make us smile. A scene or a portrait or a memory. Those things touch our hearts and make us happy to apply to canvas or paper. Discovering my creativity has given me great joy. However, some days I am not happy with what I have accomplished. Can you relate? Some days I make more of a mess than a masterpiece…but that doesn’t diminish the joy I have found in the process of being a Creative. Knowing that the next time I sit down to a blank canvas, my heart will pour out onto that vast sea of white in a blanket of color, form, and concept…not only gives me joy…it makes me happy.
Don’t let a bad day in your art journey sabotage your joy. Recognize it for what it is. Just another part of the learning curve. Now you know better what not to do the next time you sit down to a blank canvas. It’s part of your journey.