Often times, people seem to think that pleasure, joy and happiness are interchangeable words because they mean more or less the same. Their boundaries are a bit blurred and that leads to some of us using one of them instead of any of the other two. There are quite a few people who consider themselves happy when what they’re really feeling is pleasure or joy. Let’s see what these three words really mean…
- Pleasure and joy are temporary, transient. You feel them and they’re gone. Happiness is longer-lasting.
- Pleasure is physical; it’s perceived through the senses.
- Joy is what you feel when something makes you smile or laugh.
- In my opinion, happiness includes moments of pleasure and moments of joy. Joy doesn’t necessarily include pleasure or happiness. Pleasure doesn’t necessarily include joy or happiness.
- You can’t feel joy and sadness at the same time but you can feel happiness and still be sad. An example would be when you’re feeling happy with life but a sad movie still makes you feel sad at that moment.
- You can feel pleasure and still be sad. You can feel pleasure and still be unhappy.
- Yes, pleasure and joy can be felt at the same time.
- Happiness is a state. I am happy. Pleasure and joy are what we feel at certain moments. I feel pleasure, I feel joy.
- Happiness is made of many different things: joy, pleasure, satisfaction, fulfillment, content, expectation, hope, peace, acceptance… Joy and pleasure are just what they are.
So, when I talk about happiness in my workshops, presentations and publications it’s that happiness I’m referring to. I’m not talking about having moments of joy or finding pleasure in life but that general sensation of wellbeing, fulfillment, satisfaction and peace.
To me, sadness is the opposite of joy not of happiness. The opposite of happiness, in my view, is depression or even helplessness.
Expressing one’s feelings is very important when trying to establish or negotiate a relationship of any kind. How can we ask others to give us something we can’t even name? Imagine you want to be happy but only ask for joyful moments or momentary pleasure. That will end up making you feel emptier and less satisfied in the longer term because, once joy and pleasure are over, you’ll still feel a lack of happiness.
Do think about your feelings and how you express them. Use words carefully to make sure you obtain what you’re looking for and not something else.
Enjoy life… ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology – www.jessicajlockhart.com
Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker. Follow her here: