Living Beyond Happiness {Reaching For The Joy}


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I hear it all of the time…

You deserve to be happy

I deserve to be happy

If I only had xyz… I would be happy

It is not that happy is a bad word.

I just know that there is more!

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You are surrounded by it every day.

Surrounded by this idea that happy belongs to you and it you aren’t living it every second than you are doing something wrong or you deserve more.

Advertisers try to convince you that with their product you will have happiness.

In my recent Lucky Magazine they actually have a page that says “Fill The Void” and they had little stickies so you could tag everything in the magazine you wanted.

It was a joke..but was it really?

{image found HERE} is happy…what can be so wrong with a word like happy?!

Let’s get something straight before we go any farther…

There is nothing wrong with being happy.

I am not some sad, martyr of a person that loves to revel in my day to day monotony….honest:-)

I just want to suggest that there is something better waiting for you if you sometimes put “happy” aside and reach for the joy instead.

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When I think of something that makes me happy I think of things that bring be short term happiness.

They are wonderful things and I appreciate them but….

When I think of joy I think of a state of being.  A way that I feel, live, believe, breath…no matter my circumstances.

Stay with me…I swear I will get this out and I hope at the end it makes sense.

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I sat down with my kids and we all brainstormed some of the times that we chose the thing that brought immediate “happiness” and we wish we wouldn’t have.  We talked about how when you think of yourself and only what you want right now and what will make you happy right now…sometimes there are consequences and they can later rob your joy.

I was surprised how honest they were about their own choices and how they completely understood what I was trying to say.

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We have also watched a few of our close family friends go through heartbreaking separations/affairs/substance dependence etc. this past year and we have watched daddies (and mommies) leave to be happy…but they don’t seem that happy.  They wanted more.  I know that what they thought they would find if they left…they haven’t found.  They were running after happy when with a little work joy could have been at their doorstep.

It is a healthy person that can prioritize their gifts and needs and do things in their lives that bring happiness and joy.  I am just trying to say where did we ever think we had the “right” to be happy?

To me it is no different than the people that are shocked that life isn’t “fair”.  Who ever told you that one? Sorry to disappoint you but life and fair don’t really go together.

I am a mom of three children, married, homeschool my kids and run a business.

I have to make decisions from the second I wake up (and many days when I am woken up before I am ready) about will I do what I want or do what is the best.

Sometimes that choice can be hard to make and other days it is obvious and easy.

I am a pretty selfish person by nature and I have to fight with myself a lot some days to do better…do more…do what is right.

If you are a mom I know you know this struggle.

If you are a parent I know you know this struggle.

If you are dealing with a sick family member I know you know this struggle.

Heck, if you are alive….I know you know this struggle!

I want to hear about the happiness you sometimes say no to you can live in the joy.

Definition of Happiness:

a pleasurable or satisfying experience

Definition of Joy:

a state of well-being and contentment

Here is the quick list we came up with and I hope you see something you can relate with here.

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I think that we sometimes forget how much better joy feels than happiness.

I love happy.

I experience it every day.

I do many things for me and I am so thankful for times when I can think just about me and my needs and wants.

That is healthy too.

I hope you know what I am trying to say though.

That shouldn’t be my search.

That shouldn’t be my goal.

Think of all that I would be missing if it were!

I would love to hear your examples of choosing joy.

Share this Post


  1. Diana Johannesen

    I love this…I will give you credit…but I want to share your thoughts for my 20th annual valentines day….to give us a moment to reflect and choose a word to help define the moments in our life for 2013. Choosing joy is to live joy not wish it or say maybe. If we are healthy and working to stay healthier, your laughingand you are really in the moment, you notice what you do have not what you do not have, and you are enjoying the moments when you are alone and with others. I know this is JOY! Thank you for this perfect inspiration…What a way with these truly special words…thank you from the bottom of my heart to the top.

  2. Brandie

    Jeanne, I wish I could reach through the computer or phone and give you a hug. This post. This post is just exactly right and is at once good to read and hard to read. It’s so hard to admit that I sometimes(way too often) confuse happiness with joy. I want joy. Happiness is fleeting but joy isn’t. Can I just print this whole post and hang it somewhere? xoxo

  3. jill

    So often when reaching for happy we completely miss ‘contentment’ which is pretty damn good too!

    Great post!!

  4. Heather from Post Road

    Loved this post Jeanne!! Joy is getting through a really hard time in life by leaning on the ones we love.. knowing that things didn’t turn out as we wished but feeling contentment, because there are far too many blessings around to feel otherwise!! And I would also say joy is daring to be vulnerable.. knowing that we might fail or succeed or anything in between but loving the process and giving ourselves to permission to ‘just try’ in marriage, business, parenting, etc……

  5. Marci

    You know how they say the best things in life are those that we have to work for? Joy is one of those things I think we have to work for daily. This post is spot on….loved every word.
    And The photos are amazing!

  6. Katy Noelle

    Dang, Jeanne! This isn’t the first time you’ve broken into my thoughts as if you could hear just what was going round and round in my mind. Actually, I think you just broke my circular argument. I needed to be reminded of this…. or, maybe, it’s just that I knew it but it’s different when another heart comes along and sketches a thought out in living color again for us. Hope you get what I mean but the main thing is – thanks so much!!! =]


  7. oahu4me

    Thank you Jeanne for putting what I often have floating around my brain into words! You brought random musings into focus today!

  8. Diane Kinney


    How lovely it was to be greeted with your wonderful thoughts this morning.
    I couldn’t agree more that joy is more fulfilling and longer lasting !

    I love my morning coffee from Tim Horton’s – it makes me happy. Approximately six months ago I decided to start each month off by paying for the person’s order behind me when I order my coffee in the drive -thru. I don’t know the person or what the cost of their order will be until I pay. Interestingly it never seems to be expensive- the most has been $3.00 !

    The sense of joy I experience knowing that I have connected with a total stranger and perhaps started their day off on a better note overflows me – overflows me with joy !

  9. Katie Harley

    Loved this post! You are right on Jeanne. I love that you sat down and talked this over with your kids too, to get their perspective. I absolutely love the list! I too have witnessed so many couples in my circle who are struggling in their marriages and have decided that leaving is the best choice. It is refreshing to hear someone say that joy can come from working on things – working hard. It isn’t always better in a different place. I too need to remember to live within my means, save more, wear the clothes that I have, and use the art supplies that I already own to create something magnificent! Love you Jeanne!

  10. susan hartman

    Thank you. What a beautiful, well thought out message. Just what I needed this morning.

  11. Tina

    LOVE your post Jeanne! It warms my heart and soul. I’ve been on a similar journey and come up with similar conclusions. Along the road isn’t it lovely to find serendipitous joy that comes from finding kindred souls- even on the internet! I wish you joy my friend, the kind that bubbles up from your very soul and spreads outward to other travelers.

  12. Kelly

    Loved this post! It makes perfect sense. I try to incorporate this way of living (with joy) in my life as much as possible. I have witnessed the downfall of people striving for immediate satisfaction and it seems they are reaching for something they’ll never find the way they are going about it. I have fallen in that trap a few times myself but as I get older and wiser I try to be more conscientious about the right way to live. For me, true joy is spending time at home with my family. Knowing that we are all together and happy gives me joy. That is first on my list. Maybe because I felt like a part of that was missing for me when I grew up. I cherish it now. By the way, I just love the music on your blog! Good selection! And……I’m very picky!

  13. Anne Marie

    very well said Jeanne…you are one of the most filled with joy people I have ever met…so I know that any advice you have on this subject should be taken to heart.

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