Joy is defined as “gladness not based on circumstances”.
When I first read this quote, it got me thinking about this idea of “gladness”. It’s a word often related to the Christmas or holiday spirit. It seems to go without a second thought that joy just comes as part of the package this time of year. But I have a feeling that most of us have this idea of joy a bit wrong. We tend to think that it is a feeling that is dependent on what is going on around us. But, in reality, joy is an internal state. And I don’t mean living in a state of unwavering happiness and peace. What I mean is, is that it is about the feeling that you carry inside of yourself and can trust in. And you see, that is the difference between joy and happiness: one is determined by external factors (happiness) and one is determined by internal factors (joy).
In fact, it has been found that joy is a form of resilience. And that is why it is brave. If life went smoothly all of the time, we would never be able to appreciate the power of joy. The challenging and trying times of life, in many ways, end up showing us that we have the power to tap into joy at any time that we choose. We can use it to better ourselves and inspire those around us. It has the power to open our eyes to the preciousness of the moments, the people, and the places that we choose to fill our time with. It has a way of re-centering our minds on what is most important. Brene Brown says, “Joy comes to us in moments- often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments.” Brene highlights something very important here: the moments of the most profound joy most often come in the ordinary moments.
So, as we move into the Christmas holiday, remember to pay attention to the moments that bring gladness….that bring joy. It is maybe the bravest thing we can do.