Journey to Joy
My journey to joy has been a fairly recent one, but I feel that I'm ready to share this story in the hope that it may help others along their own path to a joy filled life.
Re-wind to the end of December 2021, I was very fortunate to go on holiday, it was one of those re-setting moments, time to re-group, look at how far I’d come, and assess the direction I wanted to go. Life for the 18 months prior to this moment had been lacking joy – I blamed the pandemic, cancelling activities, postponing ‘fun’, yes the big gatherings outside of my control had been cancelled but I came to the realisation that there is joy to be found in the small moments too. So, I made a decision from that day forward I would start consciously looking for joy. To say yes to things that nourished my soul and say no to things that drained me. I would consciously add joyful moments to the day, whether that be stepping out into the sunshine for a walk, or speaking to a friend on the phone, or be on the water at 7am for a row (yes this really does bring me joy!). Determined to take more responsibility for my own happiness instead of blaming external circumstances.
“You get to decide today if life is happening to you or for you” Rachel Hollis
I understand there are times when living in joy and finding purpose is much easier than others. Applying the seasons to life, when you’re in a season of Winter where times are dark and life is challenging, joy can feel impossible. For anyone in this stage of life at the moment, know that Spring always comes, and Summer shortly follows – the energy, the vibrancy, the joy, it will come back, it’s there, just hibernating for now.
So here are my 5 top tips to finding more joy in our lives:
1. Start by writing a list of all the things that bring you joy, from the small to big moments, bringing awareness to what fills you with joy is the first step.
2. Be mindful with your time and set boundaries. Say no to things which drain your energy, and say yes to the things which feel aligned with your true self.
3. Don’t wait for the big moments, find joy in the everyday. The end goal is such a small part of the journey, its so important to find joy in the small everyday steps.
"Find happiness by enjoying the journey, not by awaiting the destination" Peter Sheppard Skærved
4. Celebrate wins, your wins and others – don’t miss out on an opportunity to celebrate.
5. Acknowledge if you are stuck in the foreboding trap – see below if you’re unsure…
I can’t write a blog about joy without mentioning foreboding joy – something I’ve only very recently learnt about whilst reading Brene Brown’s Atlas of the Heart:
"If you’re afraid to lean into good news, wonderful moments, and joy – if you find yourself waiting for the other shoe to drop – you are not alone. It’s called “foreboding joy”, and most of us experience it."
Foreboding joy is something I have struggled with most of my adult life without being able to label it. Thinking that allowing myself to experience joy would mean something bad may happen, assuming I could protect myself from the lows by restricting the highs. But how wrong was I, often most of the fun comes from the 'looking forward to'; counting down the days to the holiday, embracing the giddy feeling of falling in love. I’ve now acknowledged this numbing tendency and learning to embrace all emotions – good and bad, feeling like a participant of life instead of a spectator.
If you’re interested in hearing more on the topic of joy then join me for a free workshop on Wednesday 24th August, 18:15-19:30, it's FREE! Sign up here: https://mailchi.mp/134945ff40c1/q46rz48w57