Stories of Happiness and Joy

Cape of Good Hope

I was speaking to a friend of mine and he asked me:  “What does Happiness feel like?" And then he said, "What about Joy? What does that feel like?"

I didn't answer right away. Mostly because I had no idea what the answer was. Then it hit me...I associated joy with an experience. I couldn't associate Joy = <Some Emotion>. I could only remember experience when I felt what I considered Joy. 

This made me wonder about and appreciate the utter importance of experiences in life. 

Experiences are owned by the participants. Period. 100% undiluted experience. 

Emotions have been cataloged into words, labels that anyone and everyone can use any way they choose to describe how they feel. Often these labels are used to an extreme, diluting the very essence of what they are intended to convey. 

In this way, emotion labels such as “happiness” and “joy” can lose their significance. After all, It’s the same word used for countless experiences of others.. 

Most choose this route anyway.

They pick one or more well-known labels and fire away. This route is efficient. They dilute their experience into a common label. They speak the label. Then the other person hears the label and this conjures up their memories of their own experiences. This takes less time, but the full impact isn’t realized. Only a faint shadow is conveyed. 

Ultimately I chose to describe joy another way….by sharing a story of a personal experience. By describing “joy” this way, the story reinforces the memory and experience for me — I actually felt “joy” while I was telling the story. Perhaps the story ignited a memory for my friend. Perhaps that memory of an experience created a moment of “joy” for my friend. 

I don’t think a label can do that.

Do yourself and your friends and family a favor. Eschew labels in favor of stories whenever possible. You'll have more fun and you'll FEEL the experience. 

PhilosophyPeter Giordano