Happiness vs Joy : Lessons From Foreign Strangers

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Image credits: joburgnorth.getitonline.co.za

Onboard in a fast craft en route to Cebu from Tagbilaran City, I felt the vessel maneuvering to depart from the port. I was seating in the center seat area with code 30G, aisle side seat, next to me is an empty one to the left and to the right are three foreigners, men specifically.

As the vessel started moving, all passengers settled in their seats, I noticed these three foreigners talking, they seem to be strangers and just met inside the fast craft. I ignored them and started scrolling my social media news feed.

I was entertained replying to some comments on my recent steemit blog post when I saw foreigner A with a unique accent taking a video of the foreigner B who was seated in front of him. He started filming him, foreigner A asked:

What makes you happy?

Foreigner B answered:

"Going back to basics will make me happy."

He explained further, he talked about being able to be with his family, to earn enough to supply the needs of his family and just have a simple life will definitely make him happy.


Image credits: adamwbrush.wordpress.com

He then further shared his life, his age and what his occupation and what he was doing in Bohol. They ended the film and foreigner B turned towards foreigner C who was seated next to him, to his right.

Foreigner C replied:

"I will be happy if I have access to the necessary things and needs in my life. Having access to basic healthcare, having enough money and be able to fun my needs to travel."


Image credits: /www.mormonnewsroom.ph

He even stated that he is still 20 years old, that he is traveling because he wanted to experience the culture and be inspired by the various ways of living across the globe.

Foreigner A thanked both of them and mentioned he was in Bohol for a few days, one day, he was walking around the streets of Tagbilaran City when he jarred into some street kids selling bottled waters. They talked a bit and he noticed how happy these kids were even with the little thing they had. They talked about why he was in Bohol and how these kids also dream about traveling but don't have enough amount of money to fund their dreams but they were still happy.


Image credits: www.cubimo.com

He said that event made him think to himself what makes him happy as well. And so from that day on, whenever he has the opportunity to meet travelers like him along his way, he befriends them and would initiate by asking their opinions and thoughts about what makes them happy. He has been compiling them and will soon post it on social media.

Boy, while listening to them, I can't help but also think about what makes me happy. The first thing which came into my mind is the provincial life, this life which my husband and I had imagined and what we have set as our goal. I told myself I will be happy or we will both be happy when that time befalls.

Video credits:  RSD Motivation via www.youtube.com

Then I thought to myself again, does this mean that I am not happy right now? Does happiness depend on my future goals and aspirations? How about my current circumstances? Are they making me sad, uncontented and disappointed?

I had to go back to the word happy rather happiness. What does that word mean? Being happy, what are the events in my life which had made me display happiness? Am I even happy right now? Am I even happy while inside this vessel?

Recalling our local church pastor's teaching that Sunday, I recollect the difference between happiness and joy. He quoted that the two words may seem like identical but truth is, they are two totally distinct words, they signify almost related feelings but they are felt in different situations.


Image credits: www.psychologies.co.uk

See, happiness is dependent on the situation while joy isn't.

Joy is an inner decision to be happy regardless of the situation. It keeps one thankful and grateful for anything and will keep that positivism alive even if the event isn't what he expects it to be. Though bad circumstances happen, a truly joyful person has the courage to be thankful and be alive because again, what he's feeling is backed by his innate joyful character.


Image credits: www.pinterest.com

Happiness isn't bad at all. Being happy is good! In fact, it is the basic fundamental of becoming joyful. Happiness is something that we often feel in response to a situation we have encountered just like sadness, it results from the circumstances.


Image credits: lostbumblebee.blogspot.com

When we celebrate birthdays, we are happy.

When we receive our paychecks and we earned more than what we expect, we tend to be happy.

Whenever we see a person happy, we become happy too.

When we watch funny videos, listen to hilarious jokes, when we find out a friend or relative who had been praying for something and that has been answered, we become happy and so the list goes.

Video credits: Yale Center for Faith and Culture via www.youtube.com

Happiness is what we feel as a result of an event. There are a few people who may feel unhappy for some certain positive things and events but that's an exemption and only a few would respond that way.

If you are in your right mind, you'll immediately smile back when a stranger smiles at you. When someone helps you carry something, it makes you happy and even to the extent of receiving gifts from a suitor whom you like as well. All of these will make you undeniably happy.


Image credits: www.theodysseyonline.com

But what about if you didn't receive anything, what if you were not being helped by the stranger in the street while you were asking a favor, what if no one smiles back at you? Will you still be happy? Perhaps not.

As you can see, happiness is a very dependent condition. It can't be happy by itself. It requires something else so it can be happy.


Image credits: www.pinterest.com

But joy is ultimately different.

It has this independent, constant and decisive personality in itself. Joy is from within. It is what keeps a person seem happy despite the circumstances. It is outwardly pretty and keeps things light although, in reality, it may seem hard to accept. Joy is beautiful, it lights up the room of darkness because it has decided to be joyful in itself.

A person may get into different reasons to be unhappy but his decision to put that smile on its face is the joy from within. Yes, joy is tested through trials, of tears and disappointments but these won't keep the joy away.


Image credits: www.pinterest.co.uk

While thinking and writing, I realized the three foreigners were already out of their seats. They went out to check the open air section. But when they came back, they had been playing with their mini board and even played a bit in the vessel's hallway. They did it a couple of times until a staff stopped them.

I was in deep thinking that I found myself sleepy, I went into sleeping mode and was awakened by the announcement of the vessel arriving Cebu port. I got ready and disembarked as soon as it was safe to do so.

For the last time, I beheld the three and overheard them bidding their goodbyes. I bet they had shared their social media accounts. Well, I also silently said my goodbye and thank the three strangers who inspired me to write this piece.

Blog entry written and published by Jean Beltran-Figues, A Pinas traveler and photography hobbyist, find more travel blogs in my blog section, click here.

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