Looking back at Christmas time when I little always took me to a magical place where I feel young, giddy, carefree, and oh so excited! I can smell the hot chocolate we made before we opened presents, I can hear all the voices and chatter mixed with holiday music and wrapping paper. When I think back, I can feel the warmth and love surrounding us even when there may have been arguing, sleepy parents, and stress to get everything put together behind the scenes. The presents? Those brought feelings of happiness.. fleeting.. but happy nonetheless. I smiled, I was excited, I probably screamed when I got my favorite princess doll. But JOY.. the stuff from the depths… the deep-rooted feeling I get when I think of the holidays…
Joy is not dependent on happiness, positivity, or things going our way. Joy is a choice; joy is a way of being; joy is intentional. Our family didn’t have much, but they made it FEEL like much. The little things our parents did were intentional. Did they maybe even wrap up toys we hadn’t played with in a while knowing we just wanted to tear open gifts? Probably. Did my brother or I care? Nope! They knew what would be fun and exciting and they were intentional about what they DID have.. love, time, energy.
Joy is something from within that we exude and pour out when we have an overabundance of it ourselves. But, “hello,” you say. “I’m constantly exhausted, and I can still love.” YES! You do! The love you are pouring out is intentional and a choice. Everything inside of you is craving one more minute of sleep or 5 minutes of alone time, or to simply enjoy one cup of coffee while it’s still hot. But look at you.. loving anyway. Pulling yourself together because your family, or your relationships, or friendships are worth it. They bring you so much joy that you pour out and into them anyway. You put on your big girl underpants or your boxer briefs and chose that today… TODAY you were going to choose to build those relationships over hitting that snooze button.
Research has shown that these relationships are what bring us deep joy. Research has also shown that things like money, education, and material items bring little to no joy after the initial excitement wears off. But eventually, all the gusto inside will only last so long. The quality of our love begins to weaken and tire. There is a balance. Balance is crucial in all things.
Reserves only last so long.
You must devote time to self-care and make it intentional. I work full time, attend school full time, I’m a mother of two crazy (and amazing) boys, I am a wife, a daughter, a friend, and the list goes on… I am pretty sure the only way to get anything done is to make days 36 hours long. Let’s be real; we would fill those hours too. I have to schedule time for myself or I won’t focus on me. I have to schedule and plan my time to do Yoga; I have to schedule coffee dates with friends, I have to schedule the time to breathe. It’s okay! Allow yourself that time. You need that time. Pray, think, don’t think, sleep, re-energize, read a book… whatever fills your cup will allow you to fill others as well.
To experience deep joy… the stuff that comes from the inside… the inside must be attended to and taken care of.
When you bring joy into your life, it is infectious. Joy is this little bright light inside you that makes everyone smile and feel calm. Bringing more joy into your life will give you a new and fresh outlook on life, where you are going, and what is important. Joy is a filtered lens that allows us to see our lives the way they were intended and gives us the strength and desire to want to do better, be better, and live better.
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