This is a (hopefully) quick post inspired by a series of conversations I’d been having with a friend who was dealing with a run of bad luck on all fronts. She’s coming out of her storms, and I told her to enjoy her day and reminded her that no one could take her joy. She challenged that and this was sort of how I responded.
We Create Our Own Joy
I know. Crazy, right?
It took changing my career, a bout of homesickness, a medical issue, and a heartbreak (or three) to internalize this on a personal level.
People can do things externally, yes. But it is on YOU how you react. Whatever baggage you carry away from the interaction is on YOU. Whatever lessons you do or don’t learn from that time in your life are on YOU.
This is literally one of the most liberating responsibilities we have as humans.
And, in my mind, this ability to create our own joy is one of the last true freedoms we have.
Knowing that YOU get to choose how you feel (and I’m talking “normal” circumstances – not when you’re overwhelmed with emotion during the moment itself) can be exciting and scary at the same time because you have no one else to blame…
And that’s a good thing!
If you get to decide how you’re going to feel and perceive things, select the option that doesn’t cause you a lot of grief and move on. I am not advocating for delusion, but I’m advising forgiving whoever you are holding accountable in your mind and taking steps toward happiness because the only person who is suffering the ramifications of you choosing something other than joy is YOU.
A Few Scenarios…
You had a bad day at work or got fired.
The loss of stable income or hit to your reputation/ego definitely sucks, but there are other employers out there. You could start your own thing. Whatever – life’s too short to cry over work. Try to be happy.
You had a breakup.
Oh well, wish them and yourself well and move on. Or be indifferent, and move on. Anything other than that serves no one and your ex is living their life while you wallow. Try to be happy.
You got a speeding ticket.
Damn, speeding tickets are the worst. Don’t let that set the course of your day. Try to be happy.
You lost a loved one.
Grieve. Grieve for as long as you need to. And then seek joy. Not because I told you to, and not because they’re in a better place – but because the deceased wouldn’t want you to be sad. Try to be happy.
Some political issue(s) angered you.
The world is a crazy place and you can’t be upset over the foolishness of those around you. Do your part to try to shape the world in your realm of control and don’t sweat the rest. Try to be happy.
Literally anything else.
Life is made up of temporary moments. Ups and downs. You WILL experience things that make you unhappy. We all do. Still… Try to enjoy the ride and seek a comfortable internal default. Try to be happy.
We can’t stop bad feelings or getting angry or lamenting anything. It would be inhuman to do so. Everyone cares about SOMETHING. So, care about that thing or those people or whatever. But do so joyfully because it’s on us to make sure we’re happy in OUR lives.
No one can make your joy. YOU do that.
But, fortunately, that means no one can take your joy either. Really. YOU do that.