Saturday, February 21, 2015

What Is Joy?

Why joy? What is joy? Who needs joy? How do we get joy? Is joy even a necessary thing? This is going to be a long post to introduce this whole idea of THE JOY BLOG, hang in there, it's full of great information!


Joy is defined by the dictionary as this:

noun: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation:
She felt the joy of seeing her son's success.


I asked several of my friends and family what brings them joy and I got a wide variety of responses. I wasn't surprised. Each person is so unique in their genetic makeup, their personality, their appearance, I figured that what brought me joy wouldn't be the exact same as what brought others joy. Here are some of their responses:

Religion, family time, time with true friends, good food, being in nature, their children, hiking, travels, a good workout, brownie shakes from Arctic Circle, being able to cook healthy meals for their family (and when the family likes the meals), backpacking, adventures, pets, sunshine, their own choices, quiet...

As you can see the list goes on and on.

As I read over their answers, I thought about the things that bring me joy like a good laugh, a deep chat with a friend, being near large bodies of water, writing, knowing I'm a great cook, gardening, exercise, a clean house (although I suck at this one), family, cute pets, holding newborn babies, hearing a kid giggle. My list goes on and on as well.

Notice anything specific about the above lists? Big things can bring happiness, and joy, and often do, but the things that people continually listed, weren't big miraculous events. They were small and simple, every day, run-of-the-mill, items.

Hold up. You're saying that the little things in life are a regular source of joy? Yeah, I know, it's so cliche, but it's the truth. Sure, there are huge things that really do bring happiness, like jumping out of a plane, facing a fear, having your business take off, or birthing a child. But to be regularly joyous, the simple things in life pull more than their share of the weight.


You do. We all do. How many of us go through life and experience sadness? The answer can be determined without a scientific or social study and you can quote me on this one -- ALL OF US NEED JOY. We all will, or have, experienced hard things that drag us down, things that destroy our happiness and take everything we've got. Even the rigors of the daily grind can leave us feeling spent, and less than happy. A large chunk of the American population is suffering from depression. Life is hard. It's life, it's not a vacation. It's great, but sometimes it's hard. That's ok, it's to be expected, but we all deserve to have joy along the journey. We deserve to see the tiny yellow flowers along a long sun-scorched stretch of highway. We deserve to feel inner peace, joy, happiness, love, success, and elation even after something terrible happened in our lives. We all can have joy if we choose.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is by a man who was nearly destroyed in a concentration camp in World War Two. This man chose to remain steadfast and hopeful and not let external forces take away everything he had. They took away all his earthly possessions, and almost took his life, but they couldn't take away his ability to control his feelings, and how he perceived the world.


The answer is plain and simple. BECAUSE IT FEELS GOOD.
Are you surprised?

I'm choosing joy now. Why? I suffered a great loss when my mother died last year of cancer. I wrote about it on my old blog. I've talked so much about my grieving process there, and it was necessary. With that being said, though, I'm ready to shed the depression as quickly as I can. I know it is impossible to just get up and take depression off as if it were a jacket, but I believe that as I focus on joy, happiness, peace, and the good things in life, I will be able to slowly remove the sadness, and become a new version of myself. A happy version of myself. I talk about this now because I want people to know I'm not just here saying, "BE HAPPY, IT'S SO EASY". I'm here, pain and all, choosing a new path, conducting an experiment to show that if we choose joy, we can have it. I hope you'll come along with me. Who knows? Maybe we'll change our lives.

As this blog continues the posts will contain anything and everything that can bring joy. I really hope you come back to see what is here, and also I hope you choose to live a joyful life.

Who's with me? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Join the conversation!

  1. I agree--I choose JOY, as well! Great post!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I love your writing. This blog is totally awesome!!!

  4. I think it's so important to choose joy, not just let joy come to you. After all, it takes less energy to smile than it does to frown!

    1. That is a great point. I always forget about that. Thanks for reading!


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