We hope you’re having a joyous holiday season! As the dictionary states, joy is “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” But what exactly is joy from an actor’s perspective? Here are a few quotes from a variety of actors who give us a glimpse as to how this highly sought emotion comes into play in their lives and careers.

“The joy of acting for me is to be able to experience emotions in a safe environment. You can’t scream and cry in the street because everybody will look. If you do it on a movie set, you get applauded.” — The Social Network actor, Jesse Eisenberg

“If you’re not having a good time, find something else that gives you some joy in life.” —Laverne and Shirley actress, and director, Penny Marshall

“Whatever it is that I feel, I express it! I am free with my joy, my laughter, my pleasure, my pain, and I am blessed in that way as an actress that I can access those feelings within myself and not be ashamed to show whatever that is that’s appropriate for the character. ” — For Colored Girls actress, Kimberly Elise

“Things never go the way you expect them to. That’s both the joy and frustration in life. I’m finding as I get older that I don’t mind, though. It’s the surprises that tickle me the most, the things you don’t see coming.” —Boardwalk Empire actor, Michael Stuhlbarg

Meryl Streep says developing the capacity for empathy had given her the ability to “feel the exquisite living pleasure of transmitting [a character’s] feelings to an audience. It’s an actor’s singular joy.”

“Musical theater is great; you get painted up, you get to play princesses and witches, and you sing. The joy alone of that can really carry a lot.” —Into the Woods actor, Chris Pine

“Life is a series of punches. It presents a lot of challenges. It presents a lot of hardship, but the people that are able to take those punches and able to move forward are the ones that really do have a lot of success and have a lot of joy in their life, and have a lot of stories to tell too.” –country music singer and actor, Josh Turner

“People in day-to-day life tend to skim the surface of things and be polite and careful, and that’s not the language I speak. I like talking about feelings, fears, and memories, anguish and joy, and I find it in music.” –Scottish songwriter and actress, Shirley Manson

“People see me laughing and telling jokes, but they had no idea after the show was over, I had no joy in my life, in my heart.” –comedian, television host, actor, Stever Harvey

“The thing that I’ve learned is that there really is no joy, and nothing ever good is going to come from negativity. Those are thoughts that, even if you were presenting an honest version of yourself, there’s just no point in sharing.” –Canadian actor, Stephen Amell

“My mother is a big believer in being responsible for your own happiness. She always talked about finding joy in small moments and insisted that we stop and take in the beauty of an ordinary day. When I stop the car to make my kids really see a sunset, I hear my mother’s voice and smile.” –Jennifer Garner

“When you hear the word ‘disabled,’ people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find the real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter.” —Tootsie actress, Teri Garr

“My motto is: Enjoy your life.” –Jack Nicholson

“I’m no expert. I have no psychic powers, and I sure don’t possess any secret wisdom. I’m just Janet. I have strengths, weaknesses, fears, happiness, sadness. I experience joy and I experience pain. I’m highly emotional. I’m very vulnerable.” –singer and actress, Janet Jackson

“Make sure that you always follow your heart and your gut, and let yourself be who you want to be, and who you know you are. And don’t let anyone steal your joy.” –Broadway actor, and voice of Kristoff in Frozen, Jonathan Groff

Tell us about the joy that acting has brought to your life!