Joy — that state of delight or gladness or exuberance that is full of pleasure and satisfaction. What brings us joy? These quotes give us a taste of what others have said in their wisdom about the emotion of joy.

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There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.

— Aeschylus

For unless one is able to live fully in the present, the future is a hoax. There is no point whatever in making plans for a future which you will never be able to enjoy. When your plans mature, you will still be living for some other future beyond. You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, ‘Now, I’ve arrived!’ Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future, instead of showing you how to be alive now.

— Alan Watts

Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.

— Albert Schweitzer

I will not be just a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot live in, make love to, possess as permanent sources of joy and ecstasy.

— Anaïs Nin

Joy is the best makeup.

— Anne Lamott

[E]njoying and hating the right thing seem the most important factors in virtue of character.

— Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Beauty is strangely various. There is the beauty of light and joy and strength exulting; but there is also the beauty of shade, of sorrow and sadness, and of humility oppressed.

— Arnold Bennett

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.

— Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living

Tomorrow belongs to those of us who conceive of it as belonging to everyone; who lend the best of ourselves to it, and with joy.

— Audre Lorde

Once we recognize what it is we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy.

— Audre Lorde

The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.

— Audre Lorde

Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.

— Barbara De Angelis

In my own worst seasons I’ve come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.

— Barbara Kingsolver

The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don’t have to gain, develop, or attain them. We’re like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don’t need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are — as soon as we quit pretending we’re small or unholy.

— Bo Lozoff

Sun is shining. Weather is sweet. Make you wanna move your dancing feet.

— Bob Marley

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

— Brené Brown

Scarcity culture may keep us afraid of living small, ordinary lives, but when you talk to people who have survived great losses, it is clear that joy is not a constant.

— Brené Brown

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows, like a shadow that never leaves.

— Buddha, The Dhammapada

Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.

— Buddha

Leave oneself an open door, a free unconscious channel, for the deep rushing flood of life to pour through. To tell and tell forever humanity’s greatest secret — that each one is all the rest, and each one can do the world’s work. A calmness born of the immeasurable power that moves us. A rich Peace, seeing that life is good. A joy, deepening daily as we understand. And love — the love that all things live in — To feel it and give it. To give it. Give it. Give it everywhere.

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.

— Chinese proverb

I have learned to trust those who are witnesses rather than gurus, those who express their confusion as well as their knowledge, and those who share their suffering along with their joy.

— David O Rankin

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

— E. B. White

Beauty is whatever gives joy.

— Edna St. Vincent Millay

I consider those are rich who are doing something they feel worthwhile and which they enjoy doing.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.

— Emily Dickinson

The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.

— Eudora Welty

At bottom, the world is to be interpreted in terms of joy, but of a joy that includes all the pain, includes it and transforms it and transcends it.

— Felix Adler

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy

— Francis of Assisi

The first impulse of joy that we have when our friends are fortunate, comes neither from the kindness of our nature nor from the friendship we feel for them. It is a product of self-love, which flatters us with the hope that we in turn may be fortunate too, or that we may derive something useful from their good fortune.

— François de La Rochefoucauld

Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.

— Frederick Buechner

Rejoicing in our joy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a friend.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. ln those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.

— Fritz Williams

I believe in cultivating opposite, but complementary views of life, and I believe in meeting life’s challenges with contradictory strategies. I believe in reckoning with the ultimate meaninglessness of our existence, even as we fall in love with the miracle of being alive. I believe in working passionately to make our lives count while never losing sight of our insignificance. I believe in caring deeply and being beyond caring. It is by encompassing these opposites, by being involved and vulnerable, but simultaneously transcendent and detached, that our lives are graced by resilience and joy.

— Fritz Williams

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

— George Bernard Shaw

We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy and sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They will give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.

— Helen Hayes

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.

— Helen Keller

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence. Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! My extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.

— Henry David Thoreau

Whatever may be the tensions and the stresses of a particular day, there is always lurking close at hand the trailing beauty of forgotten joy or unremembered peace.

— Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart

For while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell. It’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.

— James Baldwin

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how.

— James Russell Lowell

I don’t know everything about how joy works. But I have some guesses. As this week begins, I’m thinking about how joy has a way of meeting us in the most complicated places — how it comes as a strange grace that enables us to stand in the midst of sorrow or pain or chaos, to acknowledge and name them while refusing to let them have the final word. Joy asks us to trust that something is at work in a way we cannot see clearly but in which we are asked to participate, that we might be part of how it arrives. So this blessing is for you, for this day, with such gratitude and hope.

— Jan Richardson

There are souls in this world which have the gift of finding joy everywhere and of leaving it behind them when they go.

— Jean Paul Richter

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.

— Jean Shinoda Bolen

There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free. Don’t miss so many of them.

— Jo Walton

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness.

— John Keats, Endymion

There is no wealth but life — life including all its powers of joy, of love, of admiration. That country is richest, which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings; that man is richest who has the widest helpful influence over the lives of others.

— John Ruskin

Mirth is like a flash of lightning, that breaks through a gloom of clouds, and glitters for a moment; cheerfulness keeps up a kind of daylight in the mind, and fills it with a steady and perpetual serenity.

— Joseph Addison
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