Instead of measuring your moments on a happiness scale, try paying attention to the joy within. If it is lacking, build it up. If it is bubbling, show others the way. Only once you arrive at a state of JOY will you be able to attract and maintain true love in your life.

Four years ago I spent some time in Africa – Mozambique to be specific. In my village there was no electricity, no plumbing, water was 1.5 mile walk away, food was scarce and to be shared among the many inhabitants. Medical care was unheard of and shelter at best included a mud floored hut with no bed. It was minimalism like I had never known before.

But it was also joy like I’d never experienced. The villagers, from toddlers to elderly danced in an atmosphere of joy. They danced in the daily sun, they rejoiced in evening prayer, they relished in the delight of family – family which extended far beyond blood lines. And as witness to this great beauty I spent much of my visit mulling over the difference between joy and happiness.

What I arrived at is that joy is permanent; happiness is fleeting. Joy comes from within; happiness from without. Happiness does not exist without joy.

You see, in our society, we strive for happiness. We look to fill up as many moments of our lives with happiness. We read books on how to be happier, we see therapists for instructions on how to be happier, we experiment in all sorts of ways from moving to new places to getting new jobs, friends, wardrobes – all in an ultimate effort to arrive at happiness. But the thing is, happiness is just a moment. Happiness is the moments created by our experiences so in order to “stay happy”, we must constantly be doing things that make us happy. Operative word here – make. The happiness isn’t real, but rather an artificial injection that goes as quickly as it arrives. Something has to HAPPEN to feel happy.

Joy however, is everlasting. It is a lifelong gift that you give to yourself. No one can bring it to you. It lives and breathes within you. You create it, you maintain it. Joy is even alive when tragedy strikes. It is like a reservoir of light in your belly that carries you through even the hardest of times. How do you arrive at a more joyful place? To begin with, grow down! Tap into your inner child more regularly – watch and respond to the world with the naivete of a kid… don’t sweat the small stuff and find positive in the big stuff. Then be less final in your assessments. Adopt flow into your life. Have faith. Finally, slow down. Literally, smell the roses around you. Reprioritize your life so that less of your moves are in an effort to seek happiness and more of them are about appreciating what is already there. If you aren’t finding joy, your eyes and heart are just closed.

When it comes to your love life, in my humble opinion, you need to achieve joy from yourself, your relationships, your big badass life… BEFORE you can expect to receive it with a partner. Sure, many partners can “make” you happy temporarily but when they hold that power, they also have the ability to take away your happiness, leaving you lost and saddened. When you have joy though, you become independent of another to inject you with a happy high – you already have it, and the partner just becomes icing on your joy cake. Now that is power!

Instead of measuring your moments on a happiness scale, try paying attention to the joy within. If it is lacking, build it up. If it is bubbling, show others the way. Only once you arrive at a state of JOY will you be able to attract and maintain true love in your life.