“Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.” —Helen Keller
I have found myself, in recent times, considering the difference between joy and happiness and been participating in rather a lot of people watching. I find my attention drawn, especially, to young children and their ability to feel and allow themselves to experience a range of emotions in a short space of time.
Toddlers are fascinating.
They can be crying one minute and it really does seem and sound like the world is coming to an end and in a split second as they see a butterfly, a smooth pebble, a crashing wave or a tiny bubble floating in the sky, their sorrow and chagrin transforms to pure and undiluted joy.
As an empath, I often “catch” what other people are feeling. Particularly in crowded places where our energetic bodies come into contact more easily and our personal spaces are blurred. More often than not, I feel people’s sadness and disconnection. But with the arrival of the longer sunny days, holiday spirits and more time spent outdoors, I am both seeing and feeling a shift in energy and encountering more positive, happy and joyful feelings from the people around me.
Whoop whoop! Yippeeee!
Quite frankly, feeling negative emotions is exhausting whereas feeling positive emotions is uplifting and brings me hope and JOY.
Psychology states that happiness is tied to external circumstances and always passing through and joy is the fibre of your Soul, cultivated internally. It comes when you make peace with who you are.
Did you read that?
It comes when you make peace with who you are.
Isn’t that amazing? and brings me back to my fascination with toddlers and their ability to feel sadness one minute and joy the next. Connecting the dots and adding up the sums in my head, what I am understanding is that toddlers are at peace with who they are.
So, if toddlers are at peace with who they are and can feel joy, what happens to us all as we grow up?
Well, we somehow lose touch with the feeling of joy and resort to external quick fixes like alcohol, addictive foods, TV, shopping or spending money to find fleeting moments of happiness, rather than cultivating it internally.
I have been taking more notice of moments of joy in my life and trying to discern if they are true joy and cultivated internally or whether they are moments of happiness triggered by other people, places, thoughts, things or events and I would like to encourage you to do the same. It’s tricky and I am definitely just a learner; not ready to take off my “L plates” just yet.
The key seems to be, to make peace with who we are. And that’s the challenge.
Rachel Fearnley of rachelfearnly.com suggests the following three things that can help;
**** Quieten your mind with mindfulness or meditation
Tap into your heart not your head and your intuition rather than your thinking mind.
****Cut down on social media
Avoid the should like/do/have/buy that is often not in line with what personally brings us joy. For most of us, myself included, it is a daily necessity so the following may help;
Reduce how often you check social media sites each day
Choose the people you follow wisely and let go anyone who brings you down
Opt for 1 or 2 instant messaging portals only
**** Keep a gratitude journal and write down your moments of joy
Having an attitude of gratitude makes us more appreciative and trusting. It gives us stronger self-esteem and resilience to rebound quickly from challenging times.
It is often the small, simple things that top up our feelings of joy.
The more we get in touch with and like ourselves, the less we feel the need to seek external happiness boosts in the form of harmful experiences or things.
I’m looking forward to cultivating more joy from the inside and aiming for it to become my constant state of being.
I can’t wait to release my inner toddler.
So if you see me crying like the world is ending one minute then dancing in a rainbow of bubbles, butterflies, waves and smooth pebbles the next… you’ll know I’m getting closer.
Who’s with me?