Xulaima on the Sofa: When we say Happiness, Do we mean JOY?

Do you know what it means to feel joy? When was the last time you felt it? Did it come with a memory or was it just a feeling? In that memory, is the accompaniment (person, place or thing) still accessible to you at this moment if you were willing? Now take that same memory and ask this question: At that time in your life when this feeling occurred were you also happy?

Uhoh! Hold up.

Where is this going?

So, happiness in my view, comes with some level of coherence or alignment whereby we see or experience more than a moment but a process of going about our lives which brings us the most peace. Joy, on the other hand, is a feeling; highly empowering and usually relatively momentary or instantaneous.

That said, which of these do we find ourselves most in pursuit of? Joy or happiness?

Truth be told, it’s easier to fake happiness than to fake joy.

Recently, I sat down with myself in reflection trying to go over a set of positive feelings I wanted to access. The first few were all ego based; triumph, courage, validation… then gratitude… JOY.


It was a bit confusing at first. Each time I went for it, I also felt the simultaneous urge in my eyes to well up. Was it resistance to joy? Was I so attached to other aspects outside of joy that my body was resisting it? I have gone through the pandemic, mostly solo and been able to motivate myself out of bad sleeping habits, too much TV, bad diet and made a great return to exercise routine. I was functional. By my definition, I have been happy. But then the thought of joy just stopped me in my tracks. But then I also wonder. Is this like the joy the actors feel at their Academy Award wins? Or the doctor after landing his first successful surgery? Or a patient who just beat cancer after chemo?

What the hell, man! As a kid, joy was easy. It was mouth open, eyes wide:

 “Daddy’s home!”

 “Mommie’s home!”

“New shoes!”

“New clothes!”

“Video games!”


It is as though with happiness, I understand there are going to be some obstacles so I invest in long term strategy of order and distraction management. However, with joy, as rich as this feeling is, it does not need more than a moment to experience. But the order and distraction management required for this, I’m afraid requires more than schedule mastery.

Written by Jude Yong – Founder, Xulaima

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