How do you capture joy? What does it “look” like, where do you find it? Why does joy often seem so elusive?
“Joy” and “Happy” aren’t the same.
Happy is a response to something. It’s what we experience when we’re doing something we enjoy, like: spending time with someone who makes us smile, watching a funny movie, playing with a grandchild, entertaining friends in our home, vacationing, or completing something successfully. Joy is inside you, resonating within your spirit. It’s not as temporary as being happy. Joy fills you up. One of my desires is to walk through this life with joy and grace. I mean that. I genuinely want to live a life filled with grace and joy. I want to be joy.
To experience the peace that comes from being filled with joy, you first have to figure out what really matters to you. It’s not that what matters to your children, partner, parents, or friends is unimportant; it’s merely that you have to make what really matters to you a priority. If you don’t do that, you are less well equipped to “be present and joyful” for anyone else. And, to move fully into joy, you need to be right with God and yourself. Without those two parts in place, it’s challenging to be right with other human beings.
Give yourself permission to feel good; to be okay even when the rest of the world doesn’t see, to be on the same side as you. Be willing to figuratively fall on your face in your line of work or a troubled relationship, if that’s where you experience fear or sadness. Don’t let those be times that “define you.” If you keep rehashing the moments you “fell,” your energy isn’t being used to make space for new experiences. Take what you’ve learned and run with it. Living with regret is one of the hardest things to face at the end of life.
Joy requires having a sense of humor and not taking yourself too seriously. Understand what brings you joy, inside your home, outside your home, and, most importantly, inside you. This is really different from what you think should bring you joy. Glom onto what makes you smile, laugh, feel a little lighter in your step.
Take care of yourself. Forgive yourself. Learn from the past.
Whenever possible, remove from the people and things that take away from, instead of add to, your life. Whether that’s a person who doesn’t honor or value you, hanging onto a hurt, a bunch of “clutter” that’s suffocating you, let it go. Clearly, this is easier said than done, but it’s essential. Don’t look at what you’re choosing to walk away from as places you’ve failed, instead see these changes as what they are; personal growth. Releasing what’s toxic opens up space for more joy. You deserve that.