What makes you jump for joy?
When we told our 3 and 5 year old kids that we were going to get our Christmas tree, they literally jumped for joy! They jumped, and giggled, and looked at each other, which kept the jumping and giggling going for a few minutes, and my partner and I smiled, and laughed too. Joyful enthusiasm is contagious!
The opposite is also true. Sometimes it’s not “cool” to show true joyfulness. It’s as if JOY is a hallmark of the childish, ignorant or unintelligent. Sometimes it seems that the only acceptable use of JOY in the teen world comes out as, [sarcasm] Oh, JOY! [eye rolling]
Even for adults, Joy might be remote. I’ll admit, Joy isn’t one of the emotions that I experience very often. I am often content, pleased, and grateful, but joy comes in such erratic bursts that I have to really take note when it happens. I’ve become a bit of a “joy detective”; I’m always on the lookout for what brings me a moment of joy. I have a “Joy Jar” on my kitchen counter. Whenever I have a joyful moment, I write it down on a slip of paper, and stuff it in the jar.
Here are a few moments from my “Joy Jar”
- Dancing in the living room with our kids
- Riding my bike on a beautiful fall day
- My son playing with his toys as he sings “Everything is awesome”
These are the simple, sweet, wonderful moments that make my life worth living. Not only are those brief moments of joy so wonderful, but I can actually re-live them by writing them down and savouring the memory. When I’m feeling low in the joy department, I take a few papers out of the jar and read them over, a smile crosses my lips, and I know that I can continue on. Not only that, but I have a clear image of what actually brings me joy.
The old adage “what you look for, you will find” is so very true. When I’m planning my day, or my week, I’m wondering how I can create an opportunity for joy, instead of just letting it happen (or not). I know from experience that I’m more able to feel joy I I’ve spent some time taking care of my more uncomfortable emotions like anger and resentment. If I’ve given myself some time and space to process those emotions, I am more able to be present in the moment to experience JOY.
You don’t need to let your emotions happen to you. You don’t need to wait for joy to come along; you can create joy. I’m not talking about pumping yourself up, I’m talking about creating the conditions that will bring you joy. If you feel like joy is too much of a stretch, think about moments in your life that you’re grateful for. Make a list. Notice what qualities these moments share. Then ask yourself- how could I make these moments BETTER? Teens are great at this!
What would make a long car ride better- my favourite movie soundtrack!
What would make an obligatory family dinner better? If I could choose the restaurant!
What would make going to the grocery store better- if I could drive, the car, Mom!
Whether you’re a teen or a parent, become a joy detective in your own life. If joy feels too big, become a gratitude detective. Start noticing the moments that bring a smile to your face. When you really dig into what brings you joy, you’ll find ways to create those conditions more often.
What brings you joy?
With tidings of comfort and joy,
P.S. If you’re serious about cultivating JOY in your life, and you’re excited about the idea of becoming a JOY DETECTIVE, I am here to support you! Book a call with me today to create you very own JOY DETECTIVE treasure map to find up what really lights you up inside!