happiness v.s. joy

(This is going to be a pretty short post.)

We got my math tests back today, and something my math teacher said got me thinking.

Not too long ago, I wrote a post debating whether happiness is the ultimate goal in life, which you can read about here, and today in class, a student asked our math teacher whether our test results made him happy. In response, our math teacher replied that he has never felt happiness, only joy.

The truth of that statement struck me in that moment, as I realized most of what I believed to be “happiness” was in fact joy, and I questioned whether I have felt true and utter happiness, even if it was just for a few seconds.

I’ve been feeling pretty bad these past few days. Anxious. Nervous. Crying sometimes. Frustrated even. A few days before, or maybe even a few weeks before, I was content with my situation and my friends (I’m wary now of using the word happy).

I’ve also been thinking about happiness as a by-product, the feeling you get when you’ve done something meaningful, when you tell someone you love them, when you hug someone like you haven’t seen them in years. You are doing something meaningful. Something that adds to the life of yourself but more importantly other people around you.

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