OK, so think about it… what does “joy” mean to you? What brings you “joy”? Are you a “joyful” person?
I mean, it’s like an automatic reflex to answer with “yes” to that question… but when you really stop and think about what “joy” is, and what it isn’t… it kinda makes you do a double take at how you live your life every day. At least it did me.
As I continue on this path of self-reflection and discovery, in an effort to uncover what this blog is meant to evolve into, I started thinking about what it means to experience “joy.” It is said that “joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are,” and “joy is a decision; a really brave decision about how we choose to respond to life.” And when I examined my life through a lens made up of these definitions of joy… I had to stop and ask myself if I’m living my most joyful life?
So… what brings me joy? Someone once told me to live for the little things. “Live for 5am sunrises and 5pm sunsets, where you’ll see colors in the sky that don’t usually belong. Live for road trips and bike rides, with music in your ears and the wind in your hair. Live for days when you’re surrounded by your favorite people, who make you realize that the world is not a cold, harsh place. Live for the little things, because they will make you realize that this is what life is about… this is what it means to be alive.” Life is filled with amazing moments. They are not something you sit and wait for… they are moments you create. I love taking a moment to appreciate a butterfly when it floats past me, always whispering “I love you, Daddy” with a smile, and letting it carry my message to heaven. There’s nothing better than taking a deep breath, when the fall weather begins to set in and the air is crisp. To take a little time-out in life, to enjoy the colors of the leaves as they change… and to revel in how beautiful this place I call “home” is. To me, this time of year means a really good cup of coffee, while wearing chunky sweaters and layers and a killer pair of knee-high boots, and curling up with a book I can’t put down. Fall fashion… ah, yes… fashion most definitely brings me joy! And reading… perhaps my favorite pastime…
You see, I love my life. I have a beautiful life… one that I work very hard on every day to make it one that brings me joy… one that my husband and I build together every day, to bring joy to each other. “La vie est belle.” I am happy with my beautiful life. But still, I could do better. I know that I have the tendency to be a bit dark and twisty… and a lot of times, I just accept that about myself. However, regardless of my dark and twisty, I still feel like I’m a relatively genuinely happy person. I don’t have much in life that I don’t love… I just tend to be more of a “realist” than an “optimist.” I’m very logical, direct, of strong opinion, and I don’t sugar coat things. But, this topic of “joy” makes me wonder what life would be like, if I let go of some of my controlling tendencies and chose to seek understanding of differing opinions, and strived to live life more joyfully?
I ran across a bible study, focused on “finding joy in the trials of life,” and despite the fact that I don’t feel like I’m going through hard times or uncertain times right now in my life, there was a list of 7 things to give up if you want to experience true joy:
- Blaming others
- Negative self-talk
- Dwelling on the past
- Resistance to change
- Needing the approval of others,
- and doubting God’s plan for your life, were the points listed.
When I read something like this, I automatically start examining myself… you know, just to make sure it doesn’t apply to me. 😉 But, I found that I could stand to improve a bit…
Yep, I tend to complain… but who doesn’t, right?! It’s human nature! I mean, I don’t complain about serious things… just the typical: the weather, traffic, poor customer service, something my husband does to completely annoy me… lol. But… what would life look like if I made a conscious effort to not complain, at all? Would I manifest joy? Hmm…
Blaming others. This one feels like I just slapped my face against someone’s palm. (My husband will be so impressed that I’m admitting to this! Shhh… don’t tell him! ha!) I tend to treat my strong opinions as if they are fact; as if they are the one and only right way of things… and if something goes wrong, it clearly wasn’t my fault, because my way is the best way. So it’s clearly anyone and everyone else’s problem. Yep, I need to work on this one.
The rest from this list, I’m proud to say that I feel like I have a pretty good handle on. The hasn’t always been the case, but I’ve grown into who I am as a woman and gained confidence and acceptance along the way, especially over the last few years.
Any who, this is just another post of random thoughts about a topic that I think is important in life. So, what brings you joy? I’d love to hear…