What a year it has been so far! A year of so much loss, but so much to be thankful for. As we celebrate the holidays and draw nearer to Christmas and the end of 2020, many of us are left to pick up the pieces of what has been a rather tumultuous nine months. Because of all that has happened, the season synonymous with joy has even greater significance. It would be great to be able to maintain that happiness and joy that so many experience during the holidays throughout the new year.
Here are a few reminders on what joy really means.
Joy is more than a happy feeling
Happiness and joy are often used interchangeably, but are two different things. Happiness is defined as deep pleasure in or contentment with one’s circumstances. Therefore, happiness is influenced by external factors and can be fleeting. Joy on the other hand is a feeling or state of well-being and contentment. It is deep rooted and is cultivated internally. To experience joy, there has to be an overall sense of wellness and well-being in an individual. Happiness is an aspect of joy, but true joy does not require constant expressions of happiness.
Joy is a discipline
Yes. Joy is a discipline. You would never think about putting joy and discipline in the same sentence, but they go hand in hand. True spiritual joy can be experienced through the world around you, but it also requires shaping your thoughts in a way that increases your understanding of yourself and your purpose. As you increase your state of well-being through acts of self care, personal development and spiritual development, you solidify your joy. It requires maintenance in order to sustain it.
Joy can weather storms
And lastly, there is longevity in joy. Happiness is like a leaf in the wind. Joy is like a well-built house in a hurricane. After it is all said and done, there might be some broken glass, but the house is still standing tall. With a few repairs, it will be back to it’s full glory. Joy can exist in the absence of momentary feelings of happiness. Going through loss in whatever way it may manifest itself, a divorce, loss of a job, death of a loved one, your happiness may be lost, but it is still possible to have joy. In some ways, joy provides some hope that you will be okay.
If your joy has taken a hit, know that it is possible to regain joy. Let the spark begin so that you can maintain and sustain it for a lifetime.
What are your small acts of joy? How do you maintain your joy?