I love being happy, most of my friends say I smile too much. Others always wonder what I’m hiding behind the smile; some deep seated secret that I wouldn’t want to ever get out. Sometimes when it comes up too many times, I tend to doubt if the joy is real. I’m getting over it though, because I’m getting to define it more clearly and finding a deeper grounding on the whole concept of joy.
So what really is joy? Is it a feeling or a mood? Should it sway with each change in emotion? Is it the smile on your face when you bump into a friend you’ve not seen in a while? Or is it that tingly feeling you get when you are in your lovers arms? Maybe the external bubbliness when any good thing happens! What does it really mean to have joy in your life? I think joy is an internal feeling of satisfaction and acceptance. That whatever is going on now, good or bad, with time will pass and a new season will come. Joy is an attitude that comes from the decision within to accept that not everyday has to be amazing for my life to be amazing, rather it’s a beautiful journey full of ups and downs. It’s deciding that you will hold on to the hope that the outcome will be good even when the current events don’t look like they can bear any good fruit.
As I said before, we have to accept that life is as it is and sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but that’s not our burden to carry. All we have to do is make do with what we have and expect that life will flip in our favour. Living like this lightens your load giving you time to focus on the important things. This way you start to see the problems fade away and solutions start to surface. Always remember, a clear mind makes the best decisions and joy is one of the most refreshing feelings there is.
Joy is consistent and cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are, why you are who and how you are. Starting from a point of satisfaction or contentment, where you are happy to be who you are and even if you are not where you want to be eventually, you lack nothing in the present. Then you have to choose to focus on the positive outcomes rather than the bad days. I’m definitely not suggesting that we should ignore the bad days, we should actually take time to process them then work on healing from whatever damaged they caused. All this while keeping our joy. We should work on letting things go and learning from the experiences because life is an adventure and you can’t stay back striking that tree that hit you, you just have to “forgive it” and carry on with your journey. You also need to let go of the need to control every situation and let things fall into place. This is often not easy because of the hurt one feels at the time of the occurrence but we have to learn to keep our heads above the waves. We have to be grateful for all that we have, the simple things usually are the ones we miss the most when they are gone. Something as simple as how the air feels or the sound of the highway are things we’ll never appreciate till we can’t leave the house anymore. Adding gratitude to our daily routines will spark a certain satisfaction in you that can’t be compared to anything.
There are things that we do naturally that usually steal our joy. We may do them subconsciously but the effects are very real to our conscious selves. The first of these is comparison and coveting. Every time you see something you feel bad for not having it and this triggers your mind to believe that until you get that thing, you can’t be happy and since we obviously can never have it all, you will never find happiness. Our need to control every outcome also comes in between us and joy. Just let life be and focus on what’s going on well rather than what’s not. You give your power to the things that you give space for in you. We should also embrace humility in our lives. I have come to see the truth in the saying that pride comes before a fall! Often when the fall comes, it takes away the joy you found in overvaluing yourself. This is not to say that you should undervalue yourself but rather understand that not all days will have you feeling like the queen and that’s alright. We should always remember that we do not need anything to be happy; this is especially hard for us who have been brought up in this consumer culture where happiness is sold to us in form of trips overseas, stacks of money and pretty ladies dancing all around us. Fight to resist this thief and break free from it’s bondage.
Joy has a really great effect in our lives, it gives you that lightness in your mood and hop in your step as you run your daily schedules. It’s that continuous hope that it will all be alright at the end of it all. There’s a lot of positive effects of joy for your physical, emotional and phycological well being. Your stress levels reduce while your self confidence shoots up, because now you believe you are worthy of whatever it is you set your mind to. This attitude also supports the bigger picture planning and allows you to build big dreams and not give up at every setback. You also get to live in the present more, discovering what makes you happier and what steals your joy. With all these benefits, we should be up in arms defending our joy from all it’s thieves. My three simple steps of this are; awareness, where you should be mindful about how you feel and what makes you feel that way, notice the thoughts that steal your joy. Next you have to stand up against whatever it is that is causing the pain. It may require you to figure out the source and deal with it and heal from the experience. Lastly, you will need to replace the hopeless thoughts with a hope filled attitude that brings a lightness to your existence.
Living a life of joy requires practice and dedication. First you have to decide to choose joy each time even when the going gets tough. I don’t mean that you pretend that whatever is happening is not but rather hold on to the hope for better days. You have to be vulnerable enough also to experience joy. It’s funny that it’s not easy for the mind to allow you to feel joy, to hold on to a positive attitude. The narrative always starts with “wow today is a good day, I made it to work on time and my presentation went great” next thing you know, the devil on your shoulder whispers in your ear “this day is about to go terribly wrong then, it’s too good to be true!” There and then you start to worry about what bad thing could happen; as Dr. Brene Brown puts it, we try to beat vulnerability to it. As if worrying about a tragedy that may or may not happen will have any effect on how the world chooses to go round. All I can say is, let go of the burden of how each day should turn out, rather do all that is in your power to make the good for you and all those that are around you and let the rest be. This way life will seem simpler and each time an obstacle comes up, you will know that it is not because of who you are, rather it was just meant to be!
Go on out now! With that broad smile on your face and confidence in your step, don’t let the world decide how your heart should feel, let your heart walk in joy because joy is much more than just that smile on your face. See you next time.