What is the difference between Hygge, happiness, and abiding joy?
What is the Definition of Hygge?
I recently discovered a word that has fascinated me and I have dove head first into embracing every aspect of it through the lens of transforming joy. The Danish word Hygge (pronounced Hoo-gah) is a cultural word that is understood easily in the Danish culture, but is elusive in its meaning in the English language. Hygge is almost more of a movement, or way of living life, rather than a feeling, emotion, or something you do. In an article from KHACHILIFE, Hygge is described as
A Noun, a Verb, and an Adjective
What a great word! It’s a noun, a verb, and an adjective. I love that when I am feeling at peace and just happy or cozy and loved, I have a word to describe it…Hygge. I wanted to write about its definition and comparison to joy because it may be a new word to some. I refer to it often and yet the title of my blog is called Seasoned with Joy, not Seasoned with Hygge, and I will explain why.
Does Hygge = Joy?
I watched a documentary called Finding Hygge: A Documentary Exploring Denmark’s Secret to Happiness. In the movie, I was fascinated by a country, continuously ranked by the World Happiness Report as one of the happiest places to live. They have an ability to create happiness and make the best of their environment in spite of long, cold, and dark winters. I was struck by their need to create an atmosphere in order to maintain happiness. I am all about Hygge, getting cozy, and creating an atmosphere that brings happiness, but what happens when all the elements don’t line up just right? What happens when life is not as cozy as expected and friends hurt you, the weather doesn’t cooperate, or the biscotti burns? What then? Do you still have Hygge? Maybe not, but you can still have joy.
What is Joy?
Joy is a state of inner gladness, contentment, delight or rejoicing. It is expressed from the inside out. It is the overflow of what has happened inside the reborn heart. Joy is independent of the surrounding environment and not based on favorable circumstances, but rather a spiritual reality, and a gift from God. It is a deep-seated pleasure and depth of assurance and confidence that sparks a cheerful attitude and motivation. To be Seasoned with Joy is to have a deep-down sense of well-being that abides in the heart in spite of the surrounding circumstances.
Hygge is experienced from the outside in. It seeks to create a quality of life around you that brings an inner happiness or feeling of well-being. Hygge implores one to imbibe deeply and drink in life. It is a reaction- mind, body, and soul- to the world around you. Joy changes the atmosphere because you are changed. It comes from a place that is satisfied. Hygge builds the atmosphere to bring inner change and happiness, but is insatiable and needs to keep creating the space in order to maintain itself. Without true joy, Hygge cannot be maintained on its own, but rather it is a lifestyle that is pursued.
I have enjoyed finding Hygge in every season, but even more, I have enjoyed finding Hygge as an expression of the abiding joy in my heart. I am all about Hygge and making a cozy space and inviting environment, but it flows out of an inner joy that cannot be shaken because it is not dependent on the environment. Hygge drinks life in and happiness happens… but joy abides.
If Interested in Learning More About Hygge…
How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life– my favorite Hygge book with recipes
Finding Hygge: A Documentary Exploring Denmark’s Secret to Happiness– DVD documentary