The Joy Option

Love comes from within. And it starts with loving yourself first. You know the adage: you can’t find love if you don’t know how to give it. That applies to giving it to yourself in heaps too.

I learned this lesson the hard way, always looking outside myself for validation. If only I were fast enough, got good enough grades, spoke foreign languages without an accent, had the right weight, height, hair color. My need for love took me to very strange places indeed. I became a speedaholic, wanting more, faster and faster. Nothing ever seemed to be enough.

But do you know something? Now is always enough. Right here. At this moment. We can live in abundance no matter where we are, no matter our circumstance, no matter how full or depleted our bank accounts are.

Getting the big house didn’t fulfill the big dream of finding that love. It wasn’t until I was ready to truly give it to myself did I begin to realize how luscious life can be.

We can opt for joy any time of the day or night. You might not know this, but the key to your happiness resides inside yourself.

Let me give you an example.

Scenario #1: You know on those days when you are feeling good, everything seems to just flow in the right direction. Your car has trouble starting, but then it does. You are flooded with gratitude for the grace of the Universe. The traffic lights are all green and, even though it’s raining, your mood is elevated to the stars, and people seem to be so much nicer.

Scenario #2: And then there are those days when everything seems to be against you. Again, it’s raining, the car won’t start, the kids seems to be more agitated than usual, and you’d rather just stay in bed altogether. And, well, people seem to be so much meaner than you remember.

What’s the difference between the two scenarios?

You got it.

You.

So how do you get from scenario 2 to scenario 1?

Start a mental practice. Every morning when you awake, set your intention for the day. You can even state something simple such as “I intend to bring joy to myself and others today. And so it shall be.”

When you start to feel your mood slide, check in with yourself. Ask yourself: “What are you feeling right now?”**

You may not get an answer right away. That’s okay. It’s important to let that piece of yourself be heard, even in silence. Then ask yourself, “What do you need right now?”

Then listen.

When you create that opening within yourself, joy has room to slide right in. And who knows who else might slide up right beside you to join you in the fun?

**Many thanks to Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit for their fabulous work from which some of these concepts have been developed.

 

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