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When Joy Feels Elusive

So often the notion of joy is that it is abundantly attainable with just a shift in perspective or outlook. There are quotes coming from all angles reminding us to Choose Joy or Be Filled with Joy. A quick Google search of “joy quotes” returned about 1,270,000,000 results in 0.47 seconds. 

What happens when you find yourself in the midst of life and joy is nowhere to be found? Life seems to be coming at you throwing curveball after curveball and you don’t have the tools to catch or return the balls back. Are you broken? Do you need to be fixed?

The truth is there are times we find ourselves in a place where joy does not exist. Even in the midst of that place we do still have a choice. Not necessarily the choice of simply choosing joy, but more the idea that we have the choice on how to proceed. Sometimes sitting in our grief, sadness, overwhelm, despair, or the overall blah we are feeling is exactly what our minds and nervous system need in order to proceed through and progress out.

Instantly, the lyrics, “It’s my party, I can cry if I want to” come to mind. Creating a space of understanding that expectations and reality do not have to align allows for the ability to feel what we are feeling and gives ourselves permission to be okay with that. 

The growth part is progressing to the place of knowing you have the power. Deciding boundaries for which inputs you allow in. Knowing that lack of sleep makes for an unbalanced start to your day. Finding the time or a place of quiet in your day to recharge. Continually pushing through without regard for the overall impact you are placing on your already tasked mind. 

As a partner, caregiver, parent, friend, coworker, or just about any other relationship, allowing the needs of others and qualifying your worth based on the ability to not disappoint someone else is a major factor in the diminishment of joy. It is okay to tell people in your life that you need a break and time to yourself. Even if they don’t like it and even if their needs on the surface seem to supersede yours. You are not denying them love and emotional support. 

Instead, what you are showing them is that in order to be in healthy relationships we all need to respect a boundary when it is given. You are also allowing yourself to feel worthy of that time by releasing the guilt and taking the time. By modeling this, you give the other person the opportunity to grow as well. They begin to learn that we function as a whole and they cannot always be the focus. 

I am not saying that the needs of others should never come into play. I am saying that you matter as well. A balanced life starts with the ability to know your worth in a relationship and to know that the space you occupy within that partnership matters. 

Relationships are often a teeter totter that never seems to reach perfect equilibrium. The goal is not perfection, the goal is to find peace in the knowledge that it's okay to be down when someone else is up. It’s also okay to sit on the ground together or to swing side by side allowing the ebbs and flows of life to be enjoyed together. 

With all that being said, is joy a choice? Ultimately, we are all in control of who we are and what we choose. Adding in necessary tools to be able to assess and regulate are key to overall well-being. Just remember, each day does not have to be great for you to be a person who is grateful, thankful, and appreciative of the life you have. Seeing something for what it is, acknowledging where you are, allowing yourself to be there for a period of time, and then progressing forward is where we find joy. There is joy in being someone who is committed to taking life and growing with it.

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