Next letter up for the A-Z challenge of Positive Personality Traits is J - and J is for Joy. I've already covered happiness in my post on the letter H, but joy is different to happiness. Joy is a certainty within our inner most being that arises from knowing we are loved and valued and worthwhile. It is about being centred and at peace with your life and the circumstances you find yourself in.
So many people are mired in despair and desperation. They are overwhelmed by where they find themselves and don't know what to do about it. Often there is an expectation that life should be better than it is and the disappointment that comes from living a less than perfect life robs us of the joy that should be a part of our everyday experience.
As I get older (and wiser - hopefully) I've come to see that life is never perfect, there are moments when it all seems to come together, but these are balanced by the tougher times when we struggle to understand why things are going pear shaped. Loved ones suffer, we are beset by problems, jobs are lost, people let us down, the list goes on and on. Understanding that life is made up of the good, the bad, and the ugly helps us see that there will be ups and downs and circumstances shouldn't control our core values.
Centering ourselves and knowing who we are in our hearts means we aren't tossed about so much by the waves of life. Having a strong faith can make a huge difference in this area - knowing you are loved by God and He has your best interests at heart gives a peace and joy that "surpasses all understanding". Faith can be a big part of joy, but it's not the only well we draw from. Being valued by those who love us, having a sense of purpose, rising above difficult circumstances, learning from our mistakes, finding our place in the world, all these and more help to build an inner reservoir of joy.
Joy stems from accepting life isn't perfect and keeping our expectations to a minimum. Being surprised by joy is a wonderful thing, but living with a constant sense of joy is what we should all be aiming for. To have joy dwelling within you every day, despite your circumstances is the ultimate reward for having weathered life's ups and downs.
To keep up to date with my posts, feel free to add your email into the spot especially for it on my sidebar or follow me on facebook