The Daily Stoic for July 30, “Stoic Joy”.
“Trust me, real joy is a serious thing. Do you think someone can, in the charming expression, blithely dismiss death with an easy disposition? Or swing open the door to poverty, keep pleasures in check, or meditate on the endurance of suffering? The one who is comfortable with turning these thoughts over is truly full of joy, but hardly cheerful. It’s exactly such a joy that I would wish for you to possess, for it will never run dry once you’ve laid claim to its source.”
—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 23.4
There’s no saying that there’s a difference between feeling joy -at a very specific moment- or being happy. However, sometimes we confuse both concepts. What the author calls “stoic joy” here is what I call “happiness”. And it’s a much more permanent concept.
Happiness, A.K.A Stoic Joy
Obviously, I don’t think this is something specific to stoicism. Or that you need to be stoic to enjoy it. Nonetheless, the concept is actually quite stoic. For me, that means that even when going through difficult times, you are content with your life.
When I was working in a 9 to 5 routine, I was immersed in this spiral of feeling miserable on weekdays, desperately waiting for the weekends to enjoy two days of limited freedom. I measured my life on weekends.
And yes, I pretty much enjoyed those weekends, but it was more like a redemption-kind of joy. Friday afternoon used to be signaled by a rush of excitement, and Sunday afternoons always implied a mini-depression for having to get back to work the following day.
But the problem was still there. I didn’t enjoy my job, I didn’t like my life, and weekends were like a drug to forget about the rest of the week.
That’s why I truly believe in this concept of “Stoic joy”. One needs to feel happy inside. Happy overall with your life. Even when you go through hard times, you know that there’s no other place you would like to be, or other decisions you would like to have made.
I think that sums up what I consider “stoic joy”. And it’s all on you. On your decisions and your actions.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “Stoic Joy”, discusses the difference between feeling joy at a certain time of our lives and being truly happy. The latter means a long-term feeling of joy. Feeling content and in peace with the universe.