Finding Joy

“Let your joy rise to the surface” -Unknown

The burst of simplicity and pureness at the smallest of occurrences, like a perfect white seashell washing up onto the sand or the smile of a loved one when you know they are smiling because of you –that’s what joy feels like to me. I can feel it encompass all that I am, body and mind in unison, and for a moment I feel what I would want to feel for all of time.

Sometimes we are sold the idea that we cannot feel joy on our own, that it must be artificially derived from bars, clubs, events, alcohol or a group setting. You can pick apart what elements of these experiences act as precursors to joy, whether that means expectation, friends, new people, ads, associations between certain emotions and settings, etc.

However, it’s not necessary to follow social norms and expectations in order to feel joy, let alone feel good in general. There’s certainly an intensity to those settings that simply isn’t present in everyday life, but on a personal level I find that intensity to overwhelm and drain me. Sure, some people feel on top of the world and continue to feel that way after they’ve left, but others don’t and are left unsure about themselves as a result Why can’t I just enjoy myself? What’s wrong with me?

We’re supposed to ‘go out and have fun,’ but when you’re the type of person who finds joy in solitude and in the quieter moments of life, you have the potential to be written off as anti-social, boring, or not a fun person to be around.

What if I told you that spending the evening binge watching Criminal Minds over pizza with my best friends would lead to more joy than going out to a football game? Or if I told you I’d rather be eating pizza alone while poring over a wonderful book, each word or touch of the page a joy in and of itself? Some of you would be vigorously nodding your heads like, ‘That’s me!’ while others might be thinking, ‘That’s sounds pretty boring to me.’ That’s a testament to the individuality of emotions and personalities –it’s a concept that everyone knows, but often we don’t act like it.

Sometimes we act like we’re all the same in terms of what causes certain emotions to arise, particularly emotions like joy. We tell ourselves and others that it’s an easy point A to point B process, but it’s not –there are so many missed opportunities throughout our day when we feel a little spark of joy but don’t let it grow within us because it seems too trivial to feel joyful about. It’s a shame to have to confine joy to a certain set of experiences, so let yourself feel the warmth of a hot cup of tea a little more, let the happiness of a passing couple pass onto you, hold on a little more strongly to those passing sparks that could send a flood of joy over your entire being.