When your name is Joy, you hear more jokes about your supposed natural inclination than anything else.
But here’s what I have found in the last five years of my life, being joyful is a practiced art form. It is not a natural state, well, at least not for me.
In the last few months, my mother has told me how joyous I was as a child. It’s one of those conversations that linger on the edge of parental concern and nagging.
Not trying to be the bearer of bad news, I tried to withhold the obvious fact that I suffer from clinical depression. Call me selfish, but I didn’t want to hear that I had to pray it away, or maybe if I spoke with god a bit more, then I wouldn’t suffer from moments where my mind shut down and nothing made sense.
Depression is like a weighted blanket; sometimes, I forget it’s there because I am so used to the feeling of crumbling. Most people can tell something is different and would remark on how happy I used to be when I was younger.
They tend to ask what happened.
Lately, I have been working on not hiding how I feel. I let my anger out more and my frustration. Rather than keeping my discomfort to myself, I work on conversing with the ones who are capable of being present.
And in doing so, I have learned to be content with the smaller moments in life. I still have depression, but I no longer dwell on it like an old friend.
Sure, I’ll pour it a cup of tea because that’s what you do with visitors. But I refuse to let my thoughts drown me anymore.
It took almost a year of changing how I approach joy to realize that cultivating moments of happiness and joy is a subtle approach to life.
Joy and peace are habits of the mind, and if you learn the methods to achieve them, you will realize three very important things.
- You are responsible for finding the best environment to grow in.
- Evaluate your moments of happiness with the mind of a dedicated scientist.
- Some emotions can overlap joy but feel sad. Find out why.
Once you take the time to learn these critical pieces of life, you will begin to see that life is really about learning to give with an open palm. Rather than taking all the insights and unique approaches in life.
Contentment is simple, empty your hand and heart, then learn what it means to live. Okay, it sounds complex.
But by doing so, you learn to confront yourself and live a life you can be proud of.
If you want to know more about my work, check out my latest poetry collection.