It’s a pleasure to introduce freelance writer Yvette K. Harpootian to my blog. I thank her for writing a guest post today about finding joy — and for being such a remarkable influence in my life.
Thank you, Lisa, for inviting me to contribute to your insightful blog!
In this entry, I encourage you to know, find and live joy, both in your creative and daily life. To some that may be simple; to others it could be a real challenge. How often do stress, frustration and worry take over our day? We have deadlines to meet; we get impatient with the traffic. We worry about finances, get busy with our children, are hurt because a friend was inconsiderate; we rush from appointment to appointment and end up being grumpy, stressed, frustrated, preoccupied, and upset. These feelings monopolize and consume our being more than we realize. I challenge you to get rid of those roadblocks that can interrupt joy, and find joy in the midst of the stress, disappointments and pain of life.
GET SET UP FOR JOY
In order to be aware of joy, it helps for us to be rested. Everything looks bleaker when we are overtired. Also, eating healthy, not skipping meals, drinking enough water, and exercising, all are important for a healthy, receptive state of mind. Build in some quiet or alone time during the day. Be still. No music, talking, emails, Facebook, texts, Twitter. Quiet. Whether laying down for five minutes, enjoying peace in the car, or meditating/taking a yoga class, the quiet will center and calm you, making you more receptive to joy.
Look at life with the glass half-full! Be positive! Say and think positive things. Do not let fear or negativity creep in. They can grow to the point of consuming you. You doubt and question, and that growing fear can immobilize you. Things don’t get done; pages don’t get written; you waste time, resulting in frustration! Negativity affects our attitude, leading to mistrust and fear. Act, think, and be positive!
When we expect something from someone, we are bound to get disappointed. Releasing these expectations will save us that frustration, freeing us for joy in whatever does happen…even if it isn’t what we expected. Maybe we expected to hear from the editor sooner — or get an acceptance, not a rejection. But take the disappointment in stride, and work with it, instead of letting it rob your joy.
PUT OTHERS AHEAD OF YOURSELF
Think of others first, and show empathy and understanding. If someone says something hurtful to you or hasn’t gotten back to you, and you don’t know why, try to think about what they may be going through to cause such behavior, rather than letting them cause you stress or prompt you to act negatively in response. Rather than focus on our needs, our schedule or our convenience, we can be forgiving, understanding and considerate. Even when someone has hurt you, be kind back. That love breeds joy. Give to others; go out of your way to be helpful. Reach out; be kind, and you will feel joy.
APPRECIATE THE LITTLE THINGS
Always be on the lookout for beauty and something to appreciate. The tiniest flower, smiling to a stranger, appreciating the simple beauty around us — all of these can bring joy.
I drive by this stop sign daily. One day, something in my peripheral vision caught my attention. I had to turn down the street to look at the stop sign. Someone had crocheted a stem and flowers on the base of the stop sign. It made me smile! It also reminded me of the hangers my grandmother would crochet, making regular hangers into something special. I appreciated the extra effort someone put into that stop sign, and it brought me joy and inspiration to write about it! You never know what will inspire you next.
REALIZE THE SOURCE OF ALL JOY
Of course, the most important thing to realize is that the source of all our joy is from God. He gives us the ability to love selflessly and unconditionally, which gives us peace and joy. Living God’s word assures us joy both in our creative work and daily life.
Yvette K. Harpootian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you, Yvette. Onward!
This post originally appeared on June 30, 2014 and was the most popular post on my blog in 2014.