Much has been written and spoken this year on the subject of ‘Happiness’. The Prime Minister wants to measure it, schools are teaching it and most of us claim that when all is said and done we simply want it.
At this time of year a similar word comes to the fore in greetings cards and seasonal songs; that word is ‘Joy’. As we reflect on the ups and downs of the year gone by it’s worth considering whether next year we should strive for happiness, or for joy.
Adela Rogers St Johns suggests there is a difference: “Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you are lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love.”
Anne Robertson explores the words’ ancient origins: “Happiness comes from the Greek Makarios, which is akin to the freedom from material worries enjoyed by the rich; but it comes and goes, along with our circumstances. Joy, however, is from chairo – which the ancients saw as “the culmination of being” and “the good mood of the soul”.
Interestingly the opposite of Chairo (joy) is Phobos (fear) which suggests that if we are to find true fulfilment we shouldn’t be concerned with the periods of unhappiness that inevitably come our way but instead we should seek to live lives free from fear.
Thanks to Brian Draper for the inspiration for this blog – www.briandraper.org
Have a joyous Christmas and a courageous 2013.