Posted by on August 22, 2023

You wouldn’t believe how a part of me shattered when I heard, “When you don’t have a motivating vision, many people end up settling for second best; which is happiness.” Seriously, I love watching anime and reading manga, so you have to imagine it; I heard this part shatter and saw it lay in shards on the floor.

“What do you mean?” came next in my mind. Luckily, I function more like a practical philosopher, so I don’t just accept or reject what I hear. So, take from this article what you choose. In creating a life you love, two concepts often take center stage: joy and fulfillment.

While they are both positive emotions that contribute to our overall well-being, they arise from different sources and offer distinct experiences. Let’s delve into the differences between joy and fulfillment and explore how they complement each other on the path to a meaningful life we love.

What is Joy?

Joy is a word that comes up a lot for me. I named my Space Transformation business “I Create My Joy.” For me joy is a more intense and profound emotion than happiness. You could say it arises from happiness, pleasure and delight. This is how I have experienced it and how it has shown up for me.

Most Perceived Subtle Senses:

I have felt Joy as a sensation of lightness, as if a weight has been lifted of me and movement is more freeing, filling me with warmth. A warmth that gently frows across my body, soothing and comforting me like a warm embrace.

Joy makes your heart feel expanded, as if it has bloomed from within, elevating your energy. Making you feel like life has just been breathed into you. Like you’re living; that YOLO feeling deep within. It’s a feeling of being more alert and present in the moment.

Its Identifying Characteristics:

Joy is often associated with a sense of childlike playfulness, gratitude, and a profound sense of well-being. It tends to be more focused on specific experiences or moments. Think of those moments when you experience something pleasurable, beautiful, or meaningful. It can also be experienced through your accomplishments, and acts of kindness.

joy vs fulfilment: magnifying joy
Joy can be magnified when shared with others

Joy can be magnified when shared with others, enhancing the experience and creating a sense of bonding. It often arises in moments of mindfulness and being fully present in the current experience; like when I savor the beauty of nature.

What is Fulfilment?

Fulfilment also comes up a lot for me. I am a Space Transformation Coach and Personal Life Coach. For me fulfilment is a deep sense of satisfaction, contentment, and achievement that comes from living in alignment with my values, desires, and purpose. This is how I have experienced it and how it has shown up for me:

Most Perceived Subtle Senses:

I have felt fulfilment as a sensation of deep relaxation, where my muscles feel more relaxed, like tension has melted off my body. It feels grounding, like I have been planted, but not just in a spot, connected to all of earth.

Fulfillment makes you feel balanced and centered. You feel like you have a sense of fullness, like you have everything you need within you. Your feel like you are not just aligned with yourself, but you perfectly flow in your surroundings, creating a sense of wholeness.

Its Identifying Characteristics:

Fulfilments is often associated with the pursuit of a life rich with purpose, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment. I use the words pursuit because it is a deeply personal transformative journey. Accepting oneself is essential because it allows a harmonious life where different areas are nurtured.

Fulfilment allows nothing but authenticity; In the past I had lied to myself too much about what life I wanted to live or how much I could take on at once. Fulfilment is a place of continuous learning, self-improvement, and embracing challenges.

The Relationship Between Joy and Fulfillment

Joy and fulfillment are interconnected, often influencing and enhancing each other. Joyful moments contribute to a sense of fulfillment, colouring our lives, adding spice, and reminding us of the beauty and wonder that exists.

Both joy and fulfilment are positive emotions that contribute to our overall well-being. Joy can be a powerful reminder of what makes life worthwhile, motivating us to pursue paths that lead to lasting fulfillment.

joy vs fulfilment: natural joy
allows joy to naturally arise in your life

Because of the deep nature of joy, you will see that joy is also a journey. What I call the path of my greatest joy is about creating a foundation that allows joy to naturally arise in your life. Fulfilment can bring you joy.

Joy vs Fulfilment: the Differences

When I think about the differences, I remember how people don’t even know the difference between feeling excited and being motivated. That excitement after reading that self-help book or listening to that “motivational speaker” has not just fooled me, but has fooled several people.

That’s why I wrote out the subtle sensations you might feel in your body. But honestly, some of the subtle sensations like your energy flow, feeling expansive and smiling, show up on both sides. To make matters worse, your sensations vary person to person, and your source of joy or fulfilment also vary from person to person.

Joy is often temporary and fleeting. It can arise suddenly and dissipate relatively quickly, as it is closely tied to specific circumstances or experiences. It is triggered by external events, experiences, or situations.

Fulfillment is a more enduring emotional state that can persist over time. It’s a state of being that results from ongoing alignment with one’s values and aspirations. Fulfillment is generated from internal factors. It encompasses a broader perspective on life and extends beyond immediate experiences.

Striking the Balance

Balancing joy and fulfillment is about understanding when to embrace the fleeting moments of joy while also cultivating a foundation of sustained satisfaction. Just because joy is a string of disappearing snapshots, or happiness is what we tend to settle for, doesn’t mean we should stop pursuing joy.

Yes, I am talking about balancing those challenging times of self-growth when you have to tell yourself “No pain, no gain.” You can lead your life with a carrot or a stick. You have a choice; how else can I get there without experiencing this pain?

joy vs fulfilment: things that bring joy
the little things that bring you joy

Pursuing activities that bring joy can contribute to overall well-being, but they become even more meaningful when they align with your values and purpose, thus leading to a sense of fulfillment. We can have them feed each other.

Cultivating Fulfillment with Joy

  1. Embrace Gratitude: Cultivate gratitude for the joyful moments you experience. Recognize and appreciate the little things that bring you joy, and use them to fuel your overall sense of fulfillment.
  1. Pursue Passions: Engage in activities that bring you joy and align with your passions. These activities can contribute to a sense of purpose and fulfillment over time.
  1. Build Positive Relationships: Meaningful connections often lead to shared moments of joy. Nurture relationships that support your journey toward fulfillment.
  1. Embrace Mindfulness:  Appreciate the small moments and ordinary experiences that bring you joy. Cultivating mindfulness allows you to savor the present and recognize the beauty in everyday as you move towards fulfilment.
  1. Acts of kindness: Contributing to the well-being of others through acts of kindness, volunteering, or philanthropy can bring immense joy and purpose. Giving back creates a positive ripple effect that extends beyond yourself, providing a great sense of fulfilment.
  1. Prioritize Self-care: Nurturing your physical, mental, and emotional well-being is crucial in enabling us to hold joy. Regular exercise, balanced nutrition, adequate sleep, and mindfulness practices contribute to a strong foundation for fulfillment.
Joy vs fulfilment
Joy vs Fulfilment


Both joy and fulfillment play vital roles in shaping a meaningful life. While joy brings spontaneous bursts that are more like snapshots, fulfillment provides a deeper sense of purpose and contentment. Build self-awareness of what joy and fulfilment feel like to you.

Embracing moments of joy while also working toward long-term fulfillment creates a harmonious and well-rounded existence. Ultimately, the intertwining dance between joy and fulfillment is what makes life a beautifully complex and enriching journey.

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  1. Emilia Lockman
    February 9, 2024

    Leave a Reply

    Love it!! I like to live a life of joy. Keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Debrasuest
    June 23, 2024

    Leave a Reply

    I especially appreciate the practical advice on balancing these emotions through gratitude, mindfulness, and acts of kindness. It’s a refreshing reminder that fleeting moments of joy and the deeper, lasting sense of fulfillment can coexist and enhance each other. Thank you for sharing such a thoughtful perspective!

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True Self Development

what I offer on my siteI’m Yvette Oloo. Hello and Welcome. | I am on a journey of self actualization after loosing myself. | Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. | Spark your creativity!