“Pleasure is always derived from something outside of you, whereas joy arises from within.”
What does that word mean to you?
For many, it’s synonymous with Winter, Christmas, and joy to the world.
Peace, Love, and Joy – the holy trinity, the apex of human experience. Something to which everyone aspires. Joy – real joy – resides within every person. Sometimes, though, it takes hard work to crack open the joy.
“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.”
–Henri J.M. Nouwen
No matter the circumstance, I find joy and happiness ever present. They exist right in front of us, free to us to experience.
What about joy in the face of negativity, whether negative experiences to us or other people’s negativity? Choose joy. Choose empowerment of self. Choose aiming a bubble full of joy into whatever non-optimal situation you face. It’s so much easier, so much healthier, to embrace joy.
With that said, snap on the flashlight, light the lantern, strike the match to the candle in someone else’s darkness. Be the light – don’t be a part of the vortex of negative. If you choose joy, you allow other’s to recognize the beauty and joy within themselves. And isn’t that a great way to live life? By choosing joy and lifting yourself up, you can do the same for others. One person can’t force another to experience joy, though. Sometimes, layers of thick, hard shell need peeling away before reveling the joy at the core of your existence.
Joy lifts you up – finding that floating effervescence is transcendent.
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”
Someone once said, “Joy is contagious.” It is. Ever been around someone so filled with joy that it’s impossible not to smile, not to hop on board the joy train? How often have you been that person? Can’t think of a time? Stay present. Be aware. Find beauty and joy in everything. I guarantee you, it’s there.
“A joy that’s shared is a joy made double.”
Don’t extinguish or contain your joy. It will spark the flame of joy in others. Isn’t it fun and freeing to laugh like crazy with someone, to share amazing news – big or small?
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”
—Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s so much easier to choose joy. But it takes practice. It’s a good habit to develop. Those people for whom negativity is the first “go-to” – that’s a hard habit to break. Rewiring your brain is a challenge.
When those negative thoughts pop up – STOP. Stop and think first: what is the positive in this situation? How can I create joy from this? Before those negative or callous words tumble from your mouth – STOP. As our elders taught us – THINK before you SPEAK. How will your words affect others in your presence? Will it bring them joy? Will it bring you joy? Will they uplift someone’s spirits? Will they make you feel great? If the answer is NO – STOP.
Pay attention to your thoughts. Pay attention to your words. As negativity creeps in, choose JOY as its replacement.
“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.”
What gives you joy? What makes you joyful? Sunny days, with a cool breeze, birds chirping, leave rustling. I love it. It enables me to inhale quiet joy and breathe out exuberance. Cats playing, cats purring, dogs running, rabbits hopping, birds flying – all of these provide me with unbridled joy!
At the end of every day, think back and jot down joy points. Make a Joy Jar, and drop in beautiful slips of paper filled with those joy points. It’ll provide you with a tangible record of all the joys, the good, and the happiness in your life!
By Syndee Barwick