Happiness, Joy, or Pleasure?

Only one amongst these is worth aiming for.

Kush Sharma
3 min readJun 11, 2022
Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

I am feeling happy.

I am feeling joyful.

I am experiencing pleasure.

Often used interchangeably, these mean different things.

Let’s see what each of them means and which one we should aim for?

I do think, however, that we all have a rough idea of what each of them stands for.

Like, for example, Pleasure is more surface-level whereas joy is a little deeper. Pleasure is definitely not the one that we should aim for. Most would say joy is the ultimate thing to attain. Happiness comes in between pleasure and joy.

But I am just assuming here like you. Let’s shine the light on these three words and see what each of them exactly means to get a better idea as to which one we should afford a greater place in our lives.


I scoured various dictionary websites looking for the definition of the word pleasure. Now, the exact definition is not very clear.

One I found on the Cambridge Dictionary website was “a feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction“.

Another website listed its meaning as “Sensual gratification or indulgence


It simply means “the state of being happy

What does being happy mean?

Being happy means to “feel or show pleasure”


The Cambridge dictionary shows its meaning as “great happiness”.

Does this mean that joy is the highest form of happiness?

Or the peak of happiness?

I think it does.

Which one we should aim for?

One thing that we can see from above is that joy & happiness are related. They are different from pleasure.

Pleasure is the odd one out here.

Now, the obvious choice here amongst the three becomes JOY.

Because it’s the peak state of happiness.

It also refers to a deep state of satisfaction.

Why we should not seek pleasure?

As pleasure is related to more sensual gratification, we can soon become lost if we try to chase it.

Seeking pleasure sometimes in life is worth it but it’s often addictive in nature and harmful to our mental as well as physical state.

For example, we may derive pleasure from eating sugary treats. But doing it on a regular basis will eventually lead to diseases. Similarly, we may derive pleasure from watching TV. But doing it too much can take us away from our goals and real life.

Pleasure is short-lived and temporary.

Never go after it. Just use it in your life sparingly. Just like salt is used in the food. Too much salt would ruin the dish. Too little of it will also result in a similar outcome. But if we use it in the right amount we make the food tasty.

Similarly, in life, experience pleasure only as a reward. Treat yourself to a pleasurable activity after you have achieved your goal or made some progress on it.

Be careful.

Giving too much importance to visceral states of mind will lead us astray in life.

Always seek deeper states. They are hard to reach but that’s the ideal we should aim for.

Hence, seek JOY in your life, not pleasure.

I write on my blog daily. This is day 78 of my daily writing challenge for 2022. I write about what interests me. There is no word limit. I am doing this simply to become a better writer. Tag along with me and share your own journey.



Kush Sharma

1x Top writer. Freelance Web designer. Download The $10k+ Web Design Questionnaire [TKWDQ] on gumroad