Sure it’s easy for people to say “be happy in every situation”, “it could always be worse”, “just smile and get over it!” But we all know that happiness just isn’t that simple!! Happiness is an emotion that we feel. Just the same way we feel sadness, anger, or excitement. JOY, however, is what I want to focus on today! Joy is completely independent of happiness. Yes, they sound the exact same and many people use them interchangeably, but I am here to separate the two!
Joy is a state of being. It is contentment and gladness, regardless of the circumstances we are in. Believe it or not, we can feel joy even during the hardest times in our lives, when happiness is only a distant memory! The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives! I am going to give you 6 suggestions on how to find joy!
I know what you are thinking and no, I don’t expect you to tell everyone how glad and thankful you are that someone broke your heart, ruined your future, or took the life of your loved one. That would be ridiculous. I know that I for one, did not feel thankful that my ex left me and broke my heart. I was angry, heartbroken, upset, and lost. However, I was and am SO grateful for the lessons I learned through the experience. I was able to grow so much as an individual and become better than I could have ever been without the experience. I have been able to meet people and have had experiences that have made me happier than I could have dreamed of, thanks to that heart-wrenching trial! I am truly happy to be me today! You get to choose. Every day you have the chance to choose gratitude and joy or resentment and misery! You definitely don’t have to feel happy about your situation, but find gratitude for the small things and you’ll soon find yourself filled with joy!
Joy requires hope. Hope that tough times are temporary and you have the strength to get through them. Hope gives you something to hold onto in your darkest of days. Without hope or faith in our future, life would be pretty grim. Hope may not bring you immediate happiness, but it will give you joy, believing and trusting in better times ahead!
Create Happiness For Others
Even when you are struggling to find happiness in your own life, it is still possible to create happiness in the lives of others! Service is one thing that has brought me the most joy! It allows us to forget ourselves and our problems, and see the light that we can be to others. Serving others is what changed my entire attitude and outlook when I was going through my toughest days. At the time, I was not only void of joy, but full of anger, resentment, and self-pity. When I allowed myself to get out of the pity party I was in and help others reach their goal of happiness, I was able to find true joy in my life! It’s amazing that most times, we tend to receive the help we desire while we are striving to help others! Joy is found in service! You do not have to be healed to help!
Feel to Fill
It is so important to allow ourselves to feel emotion. One thing I tell people all the time is that it’s okay to not be okay. We all have hard days, weeks and even months! If we suppress our true emotions, we will never be able to truly heal from whatever trial or struggle we are going through and we will only be hurting ourselves. Feeling is healing! It is difficult and nearly impossible to feel joy when we are faking our way through life. Joy comes from being you, expressing yourself honestly, and giving attention to every emotion your body and mind need you to feel.
“Allow yourself to feel so you can ‘fill’ with healing [and joy]”
– Greg Thorpe
Focus on Positive Thoughts
Sometimes, the good things in life are like the stubborn grand winner of hide-and-seek. You know, that who just won’t come out no matter how many times you yell for them! They hide and it seems as though they have disappeared altogether, but let me tell you…they haven’t! There is always something good. Focus on that! The more we are able to focus on the positive thoughts and be optimistic about our circumstances, the more joy will come out of its hiding spot and be present in our lives! The brain cannot be in a state of optimism and fear at the same time. The more we focus on the good, the less time fear and pain have to drag us down. Positive people tend to have a much easier time finding joy in not so joyful circumstances!
Discover Your Why
We all have something that brings us joy. Whether it is your kids, your job, your pet, or the lifeguard at the pool that smiles at you every time you walk by. Whatever your why, we all have a reason to get out of bed in the morning! Something that drives us, gets us through the hard days, and yes, brings us JOY! Discover what this is for you. Focus on it, give more attention to it, and be grateful for it! Joy can come in many different forms, but it is a precious gift that we should never take for granted and that we should cherish and protect with all we have! When we find our purpose, we find our joy!
My favorite quote of all time is:
“You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”
– Thomas S. Monsopn
The fact is, you cannot control what happens to you. Life is hard, people are mean, and things break. You cannot control anything or anyone but yourself! The one thing you control is your attitude in response to hard times! As you learn to master this, you will find joy and contentment with yourself. Joy is not easy. Happiness is not guaranteed. And life is not out to get you. We all have something we are fighting and as we help each other, follow these steps and control our response to trials…we can find the true JOY we all desire!! Learn to smile, even on an empty stomach! You deserve it!
If you need help in your journey to joy, we are always here to help!