Joy. It’s a small word with big meaning. My friend Paula has a whole podcast about joy, called Jump Start Your Joy. What does hearing the word conjure up for you?
Do you consider joy a nice-to-have? Is it something that occasionally happens if you’re lucky?
I think that’s how most of us go through the world. We take the little bits of joy we can find, but we’re not intentional about it.
What if we were? What if you intentionally sought out joy and joyful experiences as a self-kindness practice?
Here’s what that might look like:
Say you make a mistake – a biggie – maybe you miss an important work deadline or you completely forget an appointment or commitment you made. You also have plans that same evening that you’re really looking forward to, but this mistake is putting you in such a bad mood that you’re considering cancelling those plans. This is the perfect time to choose joy. Yes, you always want to feel all the feelings, and it’s totally OK to be upset about this mistake…but when those feelings turn into self-punishment, that’s when things start to go awry. Choosing joy in that moment is a powerful choice that will reinforce your self-worth. Being intentional about joy, and choosing it even when it’s difficult, lowers your risk of getting stuck in the negative feelings.
Even on an average day it’s tempting to be passive about joy. Maybe you accept whatever unexpected bits of it show up, but haven’t been intentional about seeking and choosing it. It doesn’t have to be big. Joy might look like reading instead of watching TV or scrolling social media. Joy might look like wearing your favorite thing instead of saving it for a special occasion. Maybe joy is going out to lunch instead of plodding through without a break.
Whatever joy looks like for you, and even if you’ve never considered being intentional about joy, give it a try. Get curious about ways you can be more intentional about joy, because life is short, friends, and just imagine how good it would feel to have more joy!