So are you? Are you desperate for joy?
It was about a year and a half ago that I realized I was desperate for Joy. I was unhappy or disappointed rather in not meeting my standards and expectations in the many roles I carried: mother, wife, deacon, supervisor, girl scout leader, daughter, sister, friend. I kept working hard to do better and be better as if reaching those expectations and standards would bring me happiness. I felt accomplished and proud but not happy. I would read that quote about happiness being a journey not a destination and just be confused. I was participating in the things of my life everyday that I”ve always wanted and yet could not say I was truly happy.
My mother’s death was like a magnifying glass on my lack of happiness. The grief I experienced was bigger and more consuming than I could have imagined. During that time of initial loss it was like my body and emotions had a mind of its own. I didn’t have the mental energy to convince myself that all those things I was doing made me happy. So the curtain dropped and I had no illusion to hide behind. I loved my people and my life but I never planned for the stress and challenges that accompanies our dreams and choices. I was stressed and uptight living up to the expectations and life I created. I wasn’t happy, and so the pursuit began!
We all have the right to pursue happiness, don’t we? My pursuit started off by just attempting to get out of the depression fog that grief instigated. I diffused Ylang Ylang (a mood boosting essential oil) for the first time during my grief and I re-discovered joy. I had been down for so many weeks that the experience of joy was so foreign that it stunned me. It was just a simple moment, one that I recognized and claimed as joy. I was sitting in the playroom and looking through my planner when my then six year old daughter came in and ran to me with excitement and a smile. She said something I don’t even remember but she hugged my neck and skipped away. As I watched her skip away, I realized I was smiling. I was smiling because I love that little girl and her joy in that moment made me feel delighted and glad for her. I had been in such a fog that I had forgotten what joy felt like.
At that moment, I realized I was desperate for joy. So my pursuit for happiness has shifted to a pursuit for joy. I now understand that the more moments of joy I recognize and experience the happier I am. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I am doing. If I recognize the joy in the moment it adds up to happiness. So, one reason I would get confused by the happiness is a journey not a destination quote is because it's backwards to my experience. From my experience when we seek joy, we find happiness.
Are you recognizing the joy on your journey? If you want to be more intentional about seeking and recognizing joy along your journey, it takes practice. We have a facebook community, Joy for Everyday Women, where we share inspiration and experience to encourage us to seek and claim our joy. We don’t need extraordinary experiences to be happy, just small meaningful ones. I hope you’ll join the group and claim your joys too.