I have been thinking quite a bit about joy lately. What causes some people to seem to exude positivity and happiness, while others seem to only give off negativity and complaints? Why are some people glass half-full people and others are that glass barely has a drop in it people? What differentiates joy and happiness? How do I attain joy?
For many years, I used the phrase, "Choose joy" to move myself out of crazy-making thinking and negativity into searching for the possibilities and the joy in living. It worked pretty well, but often fell flat in creating any movement towards joy in my life. Then I began working with a Fearless Living coach and I found a whole new way to create joy in my life, which leads me to my most favorite fearless living tool…
Before you stop reading because you believe you have heard this before, give me your eyes and mind for a moment more because I promise you this is different from what you have heard before.
From the Fearless Living perspective, gratitude isn't just about being thankful. Gratitude is about being present to what is and noticing all the ways your life is pretty amazing. When I write a gratitude out in my gratitude and acknowledgements (more about acknowledgements in another post!) journal, I follow the FL guidelines because they really do support me in creating joy rather than just rattling off a list of items I am grateful for.
A gratitude needs to be specific and it needs to be supported with reason.
For example, I could write a typical gratitude out like this: I am grateful the sun came out today.
Yes, that is lovely and I am acknowledging the sun had an impact, but I can walk away unchanged from that statement.
Try this instead using the FL guidelines: I am grateful the sun came out today after so many days of gray, cold rain because it reminds me that life has its natural ebbs and flows just like the weather therefore I don't need to be brought down by every negative thought. I can embrace ALL of who I am. I am grateful the sun reminded me of that today.
Yes, I know, that is a lot to say about the sun shining, however, can you feel the power of movement in the second gratitude?! It takes me from the beautiful ebb and flow of weather into the beautiful ebb and flow of life, which creates joy because it reminds me not to get weighed down by challenges as blessings will come too.
Here is one I wrote recently in my journal that I believe every parent and caregiver will appreciate because we often beat ourselves up for how we care for our little ones, yet our little ones affirm us in ways we don't often recognize: I am grateful for the exuberant hugs the boys gave me when they arrived home today because it reminded me I do make good choices on their behalf and they know my love for them is authentic.
Buy yourself a special notebook or journal and start pursuing joy! It is one choice you will never, ever regret!