Why Joy?

Happiness


Happiness has always been a fascinating subject for me. Why are some people naturally happy and some naturally not? After years of studying self-help books, listening to audiobooks and podcasts and observing people, I believe I have a tiny inkling of what some of the happiest people I know have cottoned on to - delight. Life for them is a series of delightful adventures.


At the same time, I started to grow discontented with the word happiness. Being a pretty popular title for self-help books at the time, it seemed like I wasn't alone in my search to be happy, but happiness was sounding external and shallow. It was the feeling you got when you were exercising and eating right, doing well at work, and the house was clean. You felt happy when someone told you a joke or gave you a gift. It seemed based on a set of circumstances outside of you. I visualized the word happiness to be the requirement to have a permanent grin on your face which can get little scary when its inauthentic.



Delight?


Enter delight. Delight conjures an image to me of a series of every day adventures that surprise in charming ways...a flower poking through a sea of cement...a hearty good morning from a fellow pedestrian...a sunset. Delight still felt external but closer to what I was trying to pin down. Delight seemed like an attitude of wonder. Not bad, not bad at all.


Joy!


Then, the word joy entered my radar, and it felt different to delight and happiness. It felt internal like an energy bubbling up from inside. If happiness was a choice and delight was a mindset, joy was a feeling. As a state of emotion, it was more primal and private. Joy felt like it had levels of intensity. It could be quiet and soft or loud and boisterous, not a one size fits all kind of emotion.


So, Still Why Joy?


It's my perspective that we need to be reminded that joy exists inside each one of us. Every day, I exist among my fellow humans who accept suffering through working hard and hustling as a badge of honor. And from these fellow humans (including myself!), I hear complaining, pessimism, criticism, anger, and worst of all...hopelessness...an acceptance of this being the way it always has been and always will be. We gossip about each other, belittle our children and disrespect our own darma. Why? To make us feel powerful and like we have value? To live the right way and make others live the right way too? Seems a bit ridiculous when its written out loud.


The Surprise


What I found though in my journey through joy is that when you are living in alignment with your joy, you are having so much fun in your world, you don't really spend so much time focusing on extraneous nuisances. You already know you matter and start to realize your potential. It's a process of growth that never ends, but the lovely part is it just seems to happen when you align with joy. No hustling or extra fitness classes required. No sacrifice at the alter of busy to feel of value. Better yet, your own acknowledgement of your own value makes you value others.



You'd think after all these epiphanies, I might have this all figured out. Thankfully, no. What a pretentious blogger I would be if I did. Joy is like the rug by my front door. When the rug is straight and in place, I never notice it. I just live my life with the feeling of an orderly doormat, but when the rug slips out of place, I feel the absence of alignment. It grates and irritates me until I get back into place. The more you live with joy, the more intense the feeling of disconnect when you slip out of place. And the more quickly, you identify when you've slipped.


The wonderful thing is it does not require much to get back to a place of joy. You have have to learn to listen to yourself again, remember what joy feels like, and trust your intuition, allowing that feeling of joy to be your guide. Joy then acts as a magnet attracting delightful moments leading to authentic happiness.


And then what follows is magic.

Joy is the most magnetic force in the Universe.

- Danielle LaPorte

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