The Power of Joy
There is no limit
I wish that when we are born, we would be given a punch card for suffering, so that once our card is filled, our suffering would stop. We’d be done, We had had our share. But it doesn’t work that way, does it? There is no limit. No punch card that gets a mark for each devastating blow. We just amass experiences that shatter us, as we gather time and watch it pass.
I’m thinking of this because it’s May, and it’s been three years since my brother died. Lord knows his punch card would have been filled ten times over. He suffered, a lot, until his addictions and his heartaches took him away. When I think of him now, I don’t always focus on the anger, the sadness, the frustration, and the despair. Usually, I see him on a dance floor with my sister and myself. When we were young adults and somewhere together, we always used to request the song, We Are Family, by Sister Sledge, and we would head out to the dance floor.
He had this funny Elvis-like way of moving his right knee so he could pretend he was a great dancer. He would gyrate and giggle with abandon. In those days, he played the jokester. We would literally dance like no one else was watching. The three of us. Just like that. In those years, a few rocks had fallen, but the avalanche of suffering was years away.
No one prepares us to suffer. No one tells us how to do it. Instead, we talk about fairy tales and happily ever afters, but that never happens without suffering, You literally have to suffer to learn to suffer, which makes sense when you think about it, because you can’t learn math without doing math. This is why I love positive psychology so much. It includes the realization that life is about hardship as much as happiness, and that we can’t really feel the pleasure without the pain.
Life is about suffering, yes, but it’s also about resilience. It’s about looking back and thinking, “Wow I got through that. I’m stronger than I thought.” Resilience is as much our partner as suffering is. So maybe we really need a resilience punch card so we can track our strength, our confidence and our ability to recognize that this too shall pass if we let it. Resilience can be our constant partner, capable of carrying us when we can’t find our footing. It can be the light and the warmth. It can be survival.
The Power of Why
Inner peace and positivity
As you know, The Wisdom Coalition is all about JOY! Our mission is to help people take control of their mindset so they can find, fuel and feel more joy every single day. It brings us joy to provide tools and tips to others to help them be more positive in life. Yet, we are not part of the Toxic Positivity movement. We don’t tout platitudes about positivity nor do we believe that you should be happy all the time.
We like to differentiate between joy and happiness in this way:
Happiness is an emotion that is based on outside circumstances. So when things are going well in life, you are happy; yet when things are not going well in life, it’s okay to be sad, angry or disappointed. We are meant to have a range of emotions, and we are supposed to feel them, not ignore them, shove them down or numb them away.
Joy, on the other hand, is a state of being. It’s a way of navigating through life with a sense of inner peace and positivity. It is based on your internal environment rather than your external environment. Therefore, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening in the outside world.
We also say that joy isn’t going to show up on your doorstep wrapped in a pretty bow. You have to actively seek joy and set the intention each and every day to cultivate joy in your life. We are hardwired to look for what’s wrong in life (that’s the negativity bias), but we can retrain our brains to look for what’s strong rather than what’s wrong; and in doing so, we can create new neural pathways that override our innate negativity bias.
Being joyful isn’t always easy, but it is worth the effort that it takes, as it creates a ripple effect in your life, and impacts every aspect of your life experience. As the saying goes, we don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are! So when we fill our cup up with inner peace and positivity, we will see the world in a much more peaceful and positive way!