There is a difference between temporary happiness and long-lasting joy.

Happiness. We all want it. Most of us deserve it. Happiness is inarguably a desirable state of emotional well being. However, there is one little problem. The emotion of happiness is fueled by external sources and is therefore, by nature, temporary. In other words, you find happiness when you look to things outside of yourself to make you feel better. These things tend to stimulate the senses and are typically pretty easy to access. And although they make you feel good for a little bit, they don’t last forever. As soon as something bad happens, the happiness disappears. The external search for that feeling begins again, and the cycle continues. This constant search for happiness can be likened to journeying down the rabbit hole of “chasing that first high” but falling harder and harder each time. In the words of Sheryl Crow, “If it makes you happy it can’t be that bad. If it makes you happy then why the hell are you so sad?” Get the point? Happiness is lovely, but it is fleeting.

Joy, on the other hand, is an experience of the spirit. It is a state of being that comes from deep within. When you know yourself, love yourself, and are at peace with your truth, you find joy. When something bad happens, joy remains because it is inside you. It IS you. It is unshakeable, undeniable, and magical. There is no rabbit hole; joy is a constant presence.

The ease of finding happiness seems good at first glance, but quick and convenient is not the answer when it comes to living a joyful, fulfilled life. The real payoff comes from the hours, days, months, and many times YEARS of putting in the hard work. Seeking gratitude, maintaining a positive mindset, taking care of your body, saving space for your mind, limiting distractions, and living in the present moment are all just examples of this work. And when you are willing to dig deep within yourself, joy shines through even when times are hard and the going gets tough. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.

“Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that.”

-Nicholas Sparks