Joy Vs. Happiness
Recently, I asked others for their opinion on what title I should use for the book that I have been writing. Majority of the opinions were about including happiness in the title. This gave me some inclination to further explore the idea and meaning of happiness. Recently, I was involved in a 30-day fitness challenge with a gym called Strength in 2 Fitness. Originally, I began the challenge much like I begin anything, with full gusto and extreme dedication and commitment. I shared with another fitness member that I was going to get so in shape that at the end of the 30 days, I was going to take photos of myself in a bathing suit and really own my body fully and say: “hey look at me!” For most of the 30-day fitness challenge, life happened. I was sick, I was injured with back flare ups, and I couldn’t participate with the same gusto and extreme dedication and commitment I started off with. I was a bit disappointed in myself, and in turn robbed myself of happiness because I did not complete the goal. I then realized and noticed how happiness was a trap that mostly relied on external sources to bring fulfillment. In life, there can always be more or less of something and this desire takes away from the present, which is all anyone really has. Some examples of this robbing of happiness can look like the following statements: when I have more time, I will put more care into myself, when I have this, I will feel better, when this is over, I will be happy. Despite not reaching my fitness goals, I decided to accept where I was at. I accepted that I had been ill and I accepted my back was still in a process of recovery from an injury. Then, I took that photo of myself in my bathing suit and owned it. Embracing that very moment was accepting of myself and the situation. Parts of me battled with the voice inside me stating that I didn’t reach my goal, but other parts of me thought, you know what, this is me, and in that space, I felt joy. Joy is different than happiness. Joy is an inside job that is reliant on internal sources. Joy is when we open our hearts to receiving what is true in each given moment. I used to think that if something was “wrong” in my eyes, that it was the only thing there was. Having this kind of view, made some of my tough life moments of my father passing or my car accident very overwhelming. I remember my mother always telling me, find some happiness in the day and I always thought: How can I find happiness if my father is not alive or how can I find happiness if I can’t dance. The thing about life is, things happen. Grieving the loss of a person or a loss of an ability, job or any kind of loss has a process and truly honouring the process of that with how it presents itself in each moment is very important. There is importance in honouring what is real for you, which is how we access joy and which is what being being mindful means. Mindfulness is taking in all of the senses with paying attention on purpose, in a particular way, in the present without judgement. Joy is different than happiness, because joy still recognizes the pain or hurt, but also surrenders to the situation, and then it leaves you with a space to choose.
Get Your Joy On: Challenge 1 March 24-31, 2018
The portal to creating more joy in our lives is becoming mindful in each moment. This involves paying attention to what is happening in the here and now, and noticing when our minds fall backwards into the past or project into the future. The key here is to notice your thoughts and where you are at without judgment and instead bring yourself back with love and kindness. This is not always an easy task, as some of us, me included, have been conditioned to “be tough” or that “emotions are bad,” or that there is only one particular way to t to feel, think, or be, and if you are not doing that one particular thing, you are ”wrong.”
I invite you in these next 30 days to be exactly where you are at any given moment, and notice the judgments you may place on yourself. Loving and kindness towards yourself is the first step in the way through.
Your Challenge this week of March 25 to March 31 is to choose one or two regular activities that you will focus on and be mindful of. What this means is you will give full awareness, using your senses of this activity. Some activities can be brushing your teeth, walking your dog, making dinner, eating dinner, taking a shower or any activity that you engage in each day. Below, introduce yourself, (Hi My name is ----) and post what the activity you will focus mindfully on (I will focus mindfully on checking my mail.)
Also, if you haven’t shared your pre-challenge challenge of reflection on: what makes you happy, what is your purpose, who are you and what do you want? Take some time to reflect and share. Even if it’s one line: chocolate makes me happy, or I don’t know my purpose, or who I am is not a dancer, or I want to feel good. (That was my reflection in October 2017.) Wherever you are, meet yourself there, and know it will evolve moment to moment!
Happy Joying XO ~ Love Cynth