In the first flush of blogging-loving feeling, I had written a post differentiating between happiness and pleasure. Both are states that can be sustained, though pleasure is much more easily accessible and achievable when compared to happiness. You cannot simply ask for happiness and get it. It will come to you, without your ever expecting it. Today, I want to differentiate happiness from another word which is also used synonymously with it: joy.
Pleasure is like the control aspect of this experiment. If you cannot feel pleasure, you have some work to do. I am an incessant pleasure seeker. I think that is what saves me from not getting too “twisted by the dark side”. Even when I feel I’m going over the edge, something as simple as a song, or a smile from the lady at the supermarket can make me come back to a hoping, loving state again. That is pleasure. To look for and cultivate the good around you, which is usually quite easy to find. Now, say the lady at the supermarket didn’t smile at you, even if you initiated the purported exchange by smiling at her. One of these days, when she does give in and smile back (for you have been the bigger person by continuing to smile at her without having it returned), you will not feel happiness, but joy.
This is joy. Unsustained, unbridled, momentary fleck of energy. Not that easy to create, but immensely gratifying when had. It often masks itself as happiness, or rather the prelude to it. When we feel joy, say at accomplishing something personal or professional, we take it to be a sign of future happiness, though it really never is so. Pleasure is easier to attain, joy relatively much less, happiness is a much more, all-pervading thing that needs a massive amount of hard work to be created. But, the point is, joy is achievable.
I write for the pleasure of writing. It is something I can make for myself quite regularly, though not always. When something gets well received, I do feel joy to various degrees. Pardon my apparent bragging as I’ve mentioned being featured on Freshly Pressed a few times before, but that is a recent experience of feeling intense joy. But, does that mean I did not feel the other states of pleasure and happiness before it? I did, I did, and I still do. Pleasure is what brought me here, happiness was the affirmation that kept me going and joy was like the victory chant, the award, the celebration of this blogging-loving relationship of six months. I re-started my blog when I was feeling a lack of love. But, in the last six months, it has reminded me I haven’t lost that loving feeling after all.