LIVING A LIFE OF JOY

Do you want more joy in your life? Then swap out expectations for appreciation, take the time to look for moments of goodness every day. #midlife #joy #expectations

FINDING JOY IN OUR LIVES

Do you live a life full of joy or are you just scraping by and finding a few scraps of joy here and there in the daily hustle and bustle of life? I used to think that joy was the Golden Snitch of life - occasionally you managed to catch it, but most of the time it was snatched from your grasp by life's ups and downs.

If you're wondering where your joy is, or where it went to, or how to get it back, maybe some of my experiences will ring a bell for you and start you back on the path to joyful living.

WHEN EXPECTATIONS SUCK YOUR JOY

Part of the problem for me used to be the expectation that life should be better than it was. The disappointment that comes from living a less than perfect life robbed me of the joy that should be a part of my everyday experience. It always seemed that something got in the way of me living a life of simple joy. I was busy focusing on all the little things that I wasn't happy about and forgetting to look for the things that were good.

What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it

As I get older (and hopefully wiser) 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 don't have to control us.

LOOK FOR THE JOYFUL MOMENTS

Life is full of joyful moments - they come upon us unannounced and can sometimes be quite fleeting. If we don't stop and appreciate them, we can miss them entirely. We take so many blessings for granted - our health, our family, our friends, sunshine, rain, laughter, and the list goes on. Sometimes we need to stop the busyness of life and take a moment to smell the roses.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Maybe it's time to turn our focus away from those upsets and instead acknowledge the lovely little happenings in our day. They don't have to be big drum-roll events - we'd all like to win Lotto, or take a trip overseas, or watch our child marry the perfect person, but those are the standout points - they don't come every day and we can't expect them to. What we need to look for are the little snippet moments that pop up all the time and often go by under the radar while we're "busy making other plans"...

Let's start looking for, and celebrating the joyful moments - our morning coffee, a hug from someone we love (give one if none are being offered), a friendly smile, a shared laugh, a lick from our dog or a nuzzle from our cat, a text from our child who lives away from home, a shaft of sunlight in just the right spot, finding something we love on sale, receiving a compliment (remember to say thank you!), chocolate, baby smiles, cheerful greetings, I could keep going forever if I'm not careful. Embrace it all and watch your smile get wider and your sense of being blessed increase with every joyful encounter.

NOT JUST SURPRISED BY JOY

Another way to create joy is to centre ourselves and know who we are in our hearts so 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 living in 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. Look for the moments, relish them, and share them with others - that's what brings more joy into our lives.


WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Is your life full of joyful moments? Have you managed to look beyond the less wonderful aspects of life to enjoy the lovely times? Are you growing in joy? Why not take a minute or two today to count three blessings in your life and consider the joy that comes with them.

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Do you want more joy in your life? Then swap out expectations for appreciation, take the time to look for moments of goodness every day. #midlife #joy #expectations
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Do you want more joy in your life? Then swap out expectations for appreciation, take the time to look for moments of goodness every day. #midlife #joy #expectations

19 comments

  1. I used to say, "it'll be better tomorrow, next week, next month..." but it never happened. That is until I made a conscious effort to come at life with a feeling of thankfulness. The funny thing is I started to see all of the blessings in my life. Now, things didn't magically changed, but just by changing how I thought I changed my whole life story!

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    1. Rena you're so right - I'm very much the same. My life isn't perfect but it has a lot of really good stuff in it. When I focus on those wonderful people and situations, I smile and am so grateful for how blessed I am. To live in a First World country with all the resources we take for granted is something to be grateful for every day too!

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  2. Hi, Leanne - Your words here are very wise. Gratitude, flexibility and actively opening ourselves to the joy surrounding us all combine to make an incredible difference!

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    1. Hi Donna - you summed it up beautifully! The difference that having a joyful outlook on life makes is beyond measure.

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  3. This was my New Year resolution a few years ago. It was so hard at first but gets easier every day.

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    1. What a great resolution Doreen! Maybe it's one we should all make (and remind ourselves of regularly!)

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  4. This is so good Leanne, and I loved reading it after writing my own post just yesterday. We definitely are on the same wavelength aren't we?? I love those moments when I look around and see the light in the autumn leaves and realise how joyful that makes me feel. Such a lovely reminder for us all. Many thanks for sharing your wise words with us all. #lifethisweek

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    1. Hi Deb - I just love that there are so many little joyful moments in life if we take a minute to stop and appreciate them. That's the beauty of joy - its simplicity :)

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  5. Such a great post Leanne and the key words here are 'moments of joy'. We can't expect to feel joy ALL the time. It ebbs and flows with the waves of life. Also practicing gratitude is what helps to find those moments of joy. We need to look for it and once you start doing that you start to notice it more easily and feel it more often! Thanks so much for linking with #ZTT xo

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    1. That's why I like the concept of "joy" more than "happiness" Min - it is something that just sneaks up on us and often catches us by surprise - happiness feels like something we need to work harder at sustaining. And you're right - gratitude is a key component.

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  6. My experiencesof joy tend to be fleeting but appreciated. It can be the perfection of a flower. It might be the best double shot latte...and it may be seeing a family member achieve something they have worked for.

    Like all emotions, it is fleeting but is part of each and every day when we take time to notice!

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek and next week's optional prompt is 22/51 First Job. 3/6/19 Warm wishes, Denyse

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    1. I love those little joyful moments too Denyse - simple little delights that when we stop to savour them just bring such a sense of delight into our lives. Morning coffee definitely rates on the scale!

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  7. Leanne, followed a bread crumb trial over to here. :-) From MLSTL and "coffee" to this post I missed on Joy. I had Joy as my word of the year a few years back and bought a coffee mug that said "find joy in each day" which I still drink my morning coffee in. I also created a "Jolts of Joy list" - little things that bring me joy - you've started your own list -- chocolate, baby smiles, cheerful greetings. My list helps me find joy (what can I add to today to being me joy) and/or recognize those little things when they happen. I'm a firm believer of looking for the little moments of joy in every day!

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    1. I'm so glad you made it over here Pat because I always enjoy your words of wisdom! And yes, jolts of joy are what makes life sweet aren't they? I love that some little thing that you often take for granted suddenly sinks in to remind us how blessed we are, and with it comes that little "jolt of joy" - and when we look for them, they're everywhere.

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  8. I think the nature of joy is as a fleeting, almost surprising emotion. It's the little pieces of happy that bring it. And dumplings. Dumplings bring joy.

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    1. Oh yes - dumplings are on the joy list definitely Jo - we had some Moroccan ones at the Eumundi Markets - they were joyful in every bite!

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  9. I've gotten so much better at finding joy. For me it was all about taking time to notice the little things. There really are many things within a day that bring me to smile. I am happier for it.

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  10. This really resonates Leanne. Even though I say I'm pessimistic and cynical, I also have high expectations which are often not met. And... I don't 'stop' to look for the small joyful moments or appreciate them as much as I should.

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  11. It looks like you have a new fan! Our Julie has chosen your post again to be featured in the next Blogger's Pit Stop :) I also have enjoyed the value of this post on living life with joy.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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