What the heck is joy anyway? How do you define the feeling of it?
These are some of the words the thesaurus lists as synonyms for joy.
delight, triumph, jubilation, exultation, happiness, gladness, glee, exhilaration, exuberance, elation, euphoria, bliss, ecstasy, rapture, enjoyment, thrill
Oh yes those words are appropriate for joy when you’re on the feeling good side of life.
But I’d feel pretty conflicted by feeling or using the word delight or bliss when experiencing the hard feelings of life. Wouldn’t you?
I mean come on it’s almost impossible to feel jubilation or rapture or any of the other synonyms for joy in the same moment you’re feeling immense sadness and grief.
Yet there are four other words, which won’t EVER be listed in the thesaurus and that no one mentions when it comes to joy.
How To Experience Joy No Matter the Circumstances
Those four words are gratitude, surrender, acceptance, and peace.
Those are the words that give you access to joy in the midst of any of the hard emotions, although you may have to practice to remember that joy is there.
Joy is not based on external circumstances like happiness. Joy is an ever present part of your core being. It is actually the foundation under every other emotion.
Joy fuels hope, soothes anger, and comforts grief.
We easily forget in the middle of desperate and trying situations that joy is available even then – simply by taking our next breath.
I can sense the joy. I can see it. I can feel and experience it, yet I am unable to find the words that will give you my experience of it.
I can tell you it’s available to you at any time of day or night, during good and bad times, in grief and through sadness and even depression.
I can say that of course during the hard and unpleasant times, it’s much easier to access if you start with gratitude for what is AND what isn’t.
Joy Is Always Here.
It’s a perspective, an attitude, a deep core belief that comes with us through the birth canal. I can’t say whether it’s there before then or not but I’d bet everything I have that joy is somehow coded into the DNA that feeds every dividing cell of our being.
Many explain it as being the love and grace of God in our lives – whether we’re a believer or not.
My Recent Joy Revelation
Take for instance where I am right now. For the last 2 weeks, in addition to trying to write this email, my oldest living uncle has been in ICU. He wasn’t coherent and was having serious trouble breathing on his on when he was admitted.
His kidney’s are failing and his heart is weak. Yet during each visit to his room, I feel a sense of joy. Joy that my family could come together for him – even though we don’t always get along.
Joy that I have all the great memories of growing up with him around. Joy that he’s still fighting the good fight and isn’t ready to give up yet.
How is that possible in the face of this highly emotional, potentially devastating circumstance?
How do you describe this feeling in words that make sense to someone else? And when?
You don’t describe it. You can’t. Your JOY is subjective and situational and as individual and unique to you as your fingerprints.
Joy is a pervasive and illogical sense that even though things may not be alright, everything is as it is for a purpose.
As to the When? Obviously this is NOT the time to try and describe joy to the people in this circumstance. You practice it long before you’re faced with situations like the one my family, especially my uncles 3 daughters, are facing.
Yes you’ll still experience those hard feelings. Joy is not a cover-up or concealer for feelings.
Embrace Your Own Joy Now
However, when you acknowledge the joy, your version of joy, in every type of circumstance, it’s less likely that you get trapped in the hard feelings OR that you fear losing the good feelings. Though difficult circumstances is NOT the ideal time to begin practicing joy.
Having joy allows all the feelings to flow through you. Joy is THE strongest mix of love, faith, trust, and hope possible.
That’s why I’d like to invite you to the 28 Day JOY Challenge beginning February 1, 2017.
You’ll begin a daily practice of removing blocks to your joy, dialing into and sharing the joy you already possess, uncovering new pockets of joy, and building more joy into your day to day life, no matter what circumstances you face.
The only real way to know joy is to experience it in as many ways as you possibly can experience it.