God bless the .1% of people whose default is gratitude, joy, and ease.
For the rest of us, we have to routinely choose joy. And you can’t choose it,
unless you know what it is.
What brings joy will be different for everyone. For me, I think a joyful life comes mainly from these things:
- Being proud of who you are
- Using your gifts and talents
- Connecting with God
- Caring for yourself
- Caring for others
- Having fun
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Being proud of who you are
Tempting as it is to dump on yourself, and play the hard-nosed judge, you’ve got to
embrace being you.
You are the only you there will ever be. And you’re doing such a great job at being you!
Wayyyy better than Shirley. She’s soo not good at being you.
-I bet she’d make a really good Shirley though.
Feeling a deep sense of peace with yourself, about your gifts, mistakes, personality, and story is essential to living your fullest life.
And this comes through
Which leads to… you guessed it,
What a beautiful idea! Learning to accept the flaws and shadows that come with the wonder and light of who we are is a lifetime’s work. We just have to keep moving in the direction of
“If I could be any one in the world, I’d be me.”
There is a rooted sense of contentment when we become proud of who we are.
Run towards it, not away.
“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! Shout loud ‘I am lucky to be what I am.’” – Dr. Seuss
Using your gifts and talents (a.k.a. living your purpose)
There’s a reason you are the way you are, like the stuff you like, and are good at the things you’re good at.
Say you’re able to do calculus in your head, effortlessly triple recipes, help people who are hurt and not bat an eye at the sight of blood, can connect easily with animals, paint pictures from your imagination, give thoughtful gifts and create a warm atmosphere, or something else that’s just so…you.
It’s not an accident.
You are intentionally you and have the gifts and abilities you have for a purpose.
When you are using those abilities that feel like a natural fit for you, you are doing something you were born to do.
What a great pleasure to have and use gifts that enrich your life and or the life of others. How fine!
Connecting with God
Oh man, God- the ultimate companion.
Ever heard the saying, “Wherever you go, there you are?”
It’s so true. You can’t escape yourself.
I’d like to add to it.
“Wherever you go, there you are… oooh oooh and God too!”
Whether you and God are getting along or not, He’s there. And getting on the same wavelength is way better than being at odds.
If things with God are off or things are off spiritually, it’s mighty tough, if not impossible to find a deep down peace in your very wise soul. And I dare say that
Peace is a prerequisite for joy.
I think it may be.
Aside from being at peace in your soul spiritually, connecting with God is just so neat. And I’ve always found Him to be great company, and good for a laugh.
Taking care of yourself
I’m sure I’m not breaking news here.
If you do not care for yourself, you will not be able to fully live and give the way you desire to.
Make sure that your basic needs are taken care of. Are you getting enough water? How about eating food that is nourishing? Let’s not forget sleep, stretching, moving in a way that feels healthy for your body, having time alone, time with friends, visiting the doctor when needed. And that’s not even getting into taking care of your mind, emotions, and all of the other facets of you.
Self-care is the broccoli of joy.
It’s foundational to all things. Healthy body, mind, spirit, and soul. Once established, you can build joy.
When you accept that it’s an essential nutrient to joy and all things “living well,” you can have so much fun caring for you! Hikes, reading, massages, sleeping in, chocolate-covered strawberries, traveling, oh my goodness!
Acknowledge that it is a must. Prioritize it. Then personalize it.
Caring for others
I spent a lot of years thinking that service unto others was something that had to feel like a sacrifice. I had to do something I didn’t like in order for it to really be an act of love. If I did something I was good at, or heaven forbid, something I enjoyed, then I was being a selfish giver.
Service = pain.
Woah, woah, woah!
That is MESSED. UP.
Giving, serving, and helping is a joy! What an honor to cheer someone or genuinely help their life in some way. What an exquisite privilege it is!
And when you are caring for others out of your own gifts and enjoyment, things are in tune.
You are in tune because it’s pure. The receiver is in tune because you are sharing your best- not giving them rags, and the heavens are in tune because peace and joy are in flow.
Oh, that’s lovely, isn’t it?
The shortest, easiest route to happiness is through having fun. It may not be the deep and lasting long-term satisfaction your soul needs to function at its highest, but if you need a joy-boost, fun is the most direct way to go.
This simple, lighthearted side of joy is the cherry on top to all of the other pieces. It’s a must.
When you have fun, you open up. You’re available, engaged, and present.
Usually, you’re all-in with attention and spirit. I’ll go so far as to say that
Having fun is one of the most mindful things you can do.
“Life is meant to be fun, and joyous, and fulfilling.” -Jim Henson
Well, there you have it. The foundations of joy I find most meaningful. What are yours? I’d love to hear from you.
Share a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.