Joy Definition

Renata Gonzalez
Professor in Psychology

Joy is a brief, pleasant emotion or sensation that usually appears as a reaction to good news, an achievement, a witty joke, or a pleasant moment. We can appreciate it in a person when he is in a good mood, smiling, glowing.

Being happy is synonymous with feeling happy or satisfied and the opposite of being sad, although both are totally healthy emotions -depending on the circumstances-.

happiness and joy

Although these two nominations are often confused as equivalent, in reality, joy is fleeting or fleeting, compared to happiness, which is more lasting. Joy is an emotion -we are happy-, while happiness is a state -we are happy-.

Regarding happiness, I can say, for example: “I am happy, since I have a job that makes me feel fulfilled”, “I achieved happiness by starting a family”, “Since I adopted a dog I am very happy and I don’t feel alone”. In contrast, about happiness, you could express: “When I pass an exam, I am happy”, “Today is a happy day, because I am celebrating”, “A good breakfast makes me happy”.

Personalities that transmit joy

Just as there are people who make us feel sad or negative, angry, frustrated, etc., certain individuals give us pleasure with their company, they make us relax, enjoy. With their own joy, they infect us, transforming life into something more enjoyable, making us forget our problems momentarily.

They are positive personalities, who see the glass as half full; some are naturally carefree or friendly, while others consciously choose that lifestyle, in favor of their well-being and/or that of others.

For example: “Serena is the life of the party”, “Cielo always has a warm and cheerful expression”, “Horacio is such a nice man who makes you start the day with a smile”, “Daniel always sees the good side of the situation”.

Not being guided by the joy of the moment

While to get rid of the routine we can relate to people who transmit joy, beyond commitment, when choosing or building our circle of trust, made up of friends, family and/or couples, it is important to take into account that they make us happy, that is, they do us good in the long term, beyond the joy of the moment.

This intimate circle can be made up of happy people or not, but the fundamental thing lies in affective responsibility, in mutual care.

The essential thing is to be able to count on those who are part of our lives, both in celebrations and in difficult moments. This gives us the necessary security to make plans with those people (who will have happy, sad, angry moments, etc.) and have a strong, trustworthy bond.

On the other hand, in personal projects and goals it is also important not to be guided only by joy and, instead, reflect on our satisfaction with the place we occupy. This has to do with appreciating things in a more complex way, although there are happy or sad moments along the way.

For example: “Although Julia is very complaining, she is always there when I need her”, “Valeria makes me happy, she is my company through thick and thin”, “I have gotten a good job and I am very happy”, “Paulina He only appears when it’s time to have fun, but it doesn’t affect me because we’re not that close”, “Marcela is very cheerful, we run into each other at all the parties and we love to hang out”, “Emma is very cheerful and committed”.

Let’s normalize joy and sadness

Currently the social imperative, that is, the ideal that implicitly circulates in Western culture, through the media, requires us to be permanently happy.

How are we supposed to accomplish this? Through consumption -therein lies the hidden objective of capitalism-: we have to be happy all the time, spending money and, as it is a fleeting emotion, time and time again we fall into the trap of short-term satisfaction.

Consumption of what? From trips, expensive food and/or drinks, fun and/or elegant parties, perfumes and clothing from well-known brands, jewelry and luxury details, among other examples. The idea is to show that we have something exclusive or something that the other wants; which, paradoxically, makes us play the game of wanting all the same, to include ourselves in the social imperative.

What is the role of social networks? Show that we have a good time and spend money, because that is the way, nowadays, to “make a bond”, to relate to others.

However, Psychoanalysis reveals to us that joy is one more emotion among others and that all of them are healthy and to be expected; that being happy, always, is an impossible illusion, since life presents us with different scenarios to which we react. For example: duels are moments of great mental suffering, where the natural thing is to be sad, being healthy to accept and go through the pain.