We can light thousands of candles from a single candle,
and it will not shorten the life of the candle.
Joy never decreases by being shared
There are two types of joy and we often confuse them.
Is something we experience when we meet with an external person or circumstance—a party to look forward to, a gift, a trip, an offer, an event, a person’s giving. It excites us and brings us happiness. This joy is conditional and dependent on an outside source. As a result, our experience of that joy is temporary. Without that source, we experience a lack of joy and often believe we have no access to joy.
Comes from a place inside of us that external conditions cannot create or manage. This joy results from a choice, a decision, a creed we live by that determines our fundamental emotional state, our perception of the world, and our beliefs about who we are and what we are. It is stable, infinitely regenerating, and fully self sustaining, and cannot be lost or depleted.
We all want to live from a place where external circumstances cannot affect our happiness and joy. However, by definition, life is in a continual state of change. This we can count on. To ride the tides of change and not be tossed about, we must Choose to be happy. In choosing to be happy on a continual and conscious basis, that happiness can deepen and translate to inner joy. It’s a choice.
Many people live in the state of I’m happy if… I’m not happy if… I’m happy when… I’m not happy when… I’m happy because… I’m not happy because... Imagine the person who identifies himself based on his job and his income. Imagine him looking at his job and income as his source of happiness, pride, self esteem, and value. What if, one day, they take away the job? He no longer has an identity. He feels lost, unstable. He is no longer proud of himself. He feels useless, no longer valuable. His source of happiness and joy disappear, and he becomes a scared, depressed, anxious, or angry person.
So, how do we shift from depending on external sources for our happiness to having a continual source of inner joy, no matter what changes life brings?
12 Ways to Create and Maintain Inner Joy
- Change Your Thoughts
When you come home from a bad day at work, do you relive it? Do you go over and over it, in your mind? What happens when you do that? Do you get frustrated, agitated, or angry? Can you feel your blood boil as you rehash what went wrong, and the injustice of it? How does that make you feel? Agitated all over again? Rather than feeling relieved that the bad day at work is over, you keep it alive. Rather than creating your happiness, you create your unhappiness.
Instead of reliving the things that went wrong, or the things you didn’t like, look for the positives in the situation. Look for what you learned. Look for something that inspires you from it, something that will inspire you to change something—in you, in your plan, or in your environment. Don’t look at, talk about, think about, or analyze the poison, unless you want to keep drinking the poison. Rediscover and rewrite a new theme for the day.
- Find Your Compassion
Compassion is one of the most revered qualities in the human condition. It’s what makes us stand out from the rest of the world’s creatures. Compassion is looking for the core goodness in all people and situations. We sometimes witness terrible, even horrific things that we don’t understand. Compassion is the key to navigating life’s dips, twists, and pitfalls. Compassion helps when we don’t understand why people do what they do.
With that said, compassion has to begin with us, and for us, before we can have compassion for others. Self-compassion enables us to give ourselves permission to forgive ourselves for our mistakes, through realizing that—like everyone else—we are human, with faults and flaws. Understanding this heals those deep wounds that life experiences and our decisions from them have created within us. Seeking to understand and have compassion for ourselves helps us to understand and have compassion for those around us. Compassion teaches us to look for the good in ourselves, so we can share it with others. Being compassionate with ourselves teaches us to treat others in the same way.
We all want things to get better and be better. Compassion teaches us to connect with others where they’re at, and experience a memorable, often teachable moment for ourselves. From that teachable moment, we change, they change, and things get better. Understanding that we are the biggest roadblocks to our joy enables us to move the road-blocks and feel our inner joy. Learning to be compassionate and learning how to express compassion helps us connect with others. Connecting with others opens our hearts. Opening our hearts helps us forgive. Forgiving opens the flow of energy. Opening the flow of energy allows joy.
Yesterday is no more. One second from now has not happened.
We only have this very moment.
It is a gift, and the reason I refer it to as “the Present.”
- Discover the Art of Acceptance
Accepting what is by detaching from the outcome, in whatever way it shows up, is an art that takes practice. Though difficult to learn, once we understand what acceptance is, practicing it will support our opening ourselves to allowing joy. Instead of getting upset about being in traffic, we can appreciate the time it offers us to think, to practice calming breath work, to be away from crowds, work, or stress, to rest, to be in silence, to listen to music or an inspirational audio recording, to reflect on things that make us feel good and things that we want to do, see, or experience.
When we don’t accept what shows up, when we try to control or depend on a certain outcome, we end up stealing our own joy. Allow what is to be. It is already what it is. We cannot change what is. We can instead focus our mind on ourselves and our future visions. When we stop trying to control, complain, or change things outside of ourselves, we free ourselves from burden, stress, frustration, and depression, and we open ourselves to joy.
- Live Your Truth
Choosing to live in alignment with the desires of your heart and core desires is living your truth. Your truth is not the truth of your spouse or your parent or the person next to you, nor the truth of anyone else in the universe. Your truth belongs only to you. Being true to ourselves means releasing the lifeline to our egos that try to protect us and compete and defend and prepare for the fight.
Living in our truth means knowing it and not needing to say it or defend it or convince others of it. You are not the most important person in the world, but you are the most important person to YOU in the world. Honoring yourself, respecting yourself and the life experiences that led you to your truth, and committing yourself to your truth will allow a natural and easy state of joy to flow freely and abundantly to and in you. It doesn’t matter what others think of who you are, what you believe, how you think, and how you live. It only matters what you think. Let your true self flow.
- Be In Integrity
Once you’ve discovered your truth, be one with it, and stand from it. Say what you mean, let your words mean what you say, and honor what you say. Do the right thing, even if no one is looking. It’s not only for others, but for you. When you don’t say what you mean, when your words don’t mean what you want to say, and when you don’t honor your words, you cause inner conflict, chaos, pain, and even disease within yourself. Lack of integrity can bring on symptoms in the throat and focal areas, stomach trouble, skin issues, headaches, auto-immune disorders, and other health conditions. Being in integrity is essential to keeping yourself healthy and open to joy. It is living life for the highest good of yourself and others.
To surrender is to yield to the higher good, to give up fighting, and resisting, to let go of trying to control, clutch, or manipulate. I’m not talking about quitting or giving up your ideals, goals, and actions. Most of us have been told to take control of our own destinies. But have we ever really been in control? Were we able to stop pain, change, tragedy, or anything? Or did it happen anyway?
When we realize that we do not walk alone, and if we open ourselves to the universal guidance of our Source, whatever that is for you, we can hear and feel our inner guidance. We can surrender our belief that we need to hold tight and control. We can surrender our worry, our anger, our fear, our tension. To surrender is to allow the natural order and universal principles to continue their cyclical and infinite balance. When we surrender to the guidance of Spirit, the universal energy brings endless chances for us to tap into joy.
- Connect Deeply with Others
When you contact someone, connect with your eyes. See the person, not the race, physical scar, flaw, gender, culture, outfit, class, neighborhood, physical ability, or religion. Look through your heart, from your soul. Listen with an intention to understand, without thinking about what your reply should be, without letting thoughts distract you. When you don’t understand, or you’re confused, seek clarification.
Be one hundred percent you, without trying to present an image, expression, or posture. Be straight, be direct, be honest, be transparent, and be open to letting them see you, feel you, know you, connect with you. When you engage in conversation, share yourself intending to create a bond of mutual vulnerability and trust. The person you’re engaging with will feel that and respond similarly. True, honest, interaction with no agenda, pretense, fear, or shield creates a connection that will fill you up inside. Connecting at a deeper level with others produces a deep, intense, and intimate joy that almost nothing can match.
- Be Freely and Spontaneously Kind
Do random acts of kindness. Don’t plan them. Just follow your spontaneous urges. Where life has blessed you, bless others. Pay it forward. Make it a habit. Be someone’s miracle. Give anonymously to someone in need. Don’t weigh and measure. Don’t stop and think. When the feeling strikes—and it will—offer help, say hello, smile, give. Give as big as you can.
Attachment to being right creates suffering.
When you have a choice to be right, or to be kind,
make the choice to be kind, and watch
your suffering disappear.
— Wayne Dyer
- Mind Your Own Business and Mind It Well
Don’t be a busybody. Don’t be a martyr. Don’t be everyone’s parent, counsel, or critic. These cause us to become codependent, enablers, or victims. These have us waiting for others, being at the effect of others, waiting to cause a reaction in others, receive a response from others, and become attached to an expectation. Know yourself. Know yourself well. Feel the boundary between your business and the business of others. Don’t fall prey to being pulled into everyone’s opinions, drama, and life dilemmas. Paying attention to everyone’s business will keep your joy from appearing. Joy is a byproduct of being centered in your connection with you and your connection to your Source. Joy disappears when you disconnect and start going into the business of others. Attend to your own missteps, your own business, your own dreams and discoveries, and your own happiness. Stay in your own lane, aligned with yourself. Clear the busybody energy of your life to make space for the joy to appear.
- Discover and Ignite Your Passion
A life without passion is not a life. So many people go through life numb, beaten down, their inner light dimmed, or following others’ instructions, ideals, and passions. If we are living in any of these scenarios, we are actually slowly dying. Following our own passion connects us to our own joy. Know your passion and make it your top priority.
- Be Present
Scientists say that we have 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day. How many of those thoughts are negative, stressful, worrying, or projecting into the past, future, or someone else? Most of our thoughts are driven by our unconscious, which are impossible to take control of, because we are not conscious of them. We become scooped up into the emotions of our unconscious thoughts.
We can shift this by focusing on being present. Happiness and joy exist when we stay connected to the present moment. If we are focusing on the past, or worrying about the future, we skip the joy of this moment. We practice being present by listening to our breathing, noticing things that are natural, interesting, beautiful, or new, feeling our appreciation for what makes us feel good. In this moment, inhale, listen, look, taste, touch, feel, smell. Those are the doorways through which joy enters.
- Gravitate Towards the Feeling of Joy
We need to know what makes us feel good, to gravitate to those things that make us feel good. Hold thoughts that make you feel good, look at things that make you feel good, and talk about things that make you feel good. Notice when you are feeling good and let yourself just be in that feeling. Feeling good brings you joy. Feeling the joy brings more joy. The more we focus on feeling good in each moment, the easier it will be to feel joy.
Find joyful people and get to know them. Find out what creates their joy. Listen to music. Go on a discovery journey to find what makes you feel good. Get lost in it. Celebrate it. Sing loudly, no matter who hears you. Walk in nature and learn from her. Watch her flowers and smell them. Listen to her. She is the greatest, easiest, purest, and most endless source of joy. Being open to learning new ways to feel joy will bring joy.
Learning how to create the space for joy to be a daily part of our lives is like learning a new language. It takes a desire to change, a commitment to learning how, and practice. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. If we are always ready to receive, the gifts and messengers will present themselves. Life is in a perpetual state of forward motion. There is no final destination. It is a continual process that takes us higher and higher. The journey is never over. When we let go of the tension from the past and worry of the future, knowing we are always on our way, we make space for joy to exist and expand inside of us.
How much Passion is in Your Life?
Here are a few exercises to help you:
To increase the effectiveness of this exercise, write the words down and feelings that come up for you. Be honest.
- Think about the first moment of your day. How do you feel? What’s the first word or feeling that comes to you? What do you do? Do you bounce out of bed in the morning refreshed and rejuvenated? Do you hit the snooze button, still tired? Do you look with anticipation to each brand-new day and something that you’re looking forward to? Can you not bear the thought of facing another boring, tedious, or difficult day?
- Think of your work. How you feel about it? Which of these words, or others, match your feeling: Stimulated, unsatisfied, content, bored, excited, frustrated, enthused, disgusted, inspired, exhausted, happy, uninspired, eager, afraid, so-so, sad, energized, angry, motivated, resentful, satisfied, overwhelmed?
- Do you identify what you do for a living as who you are? Would your identity change if you lost your job or your business? If so, how?
- Think of each of your relationships, separately, one at a time (romantic/marital, child, parent, sibling, friend, co-worker, business partner, property, investment). How do you feel about each one? What’s the first word or feeling that comes to you? Is it nourishing both of you? Is it happy and flowing? Is it filled with unspoken needs, resentments, regrets, doubts, or fears? In marriages and romantic partnerships, over 60% admit that they’re just not getting what they need, and today’s current divorce rate is 60%.
- Think about this year. How do you feel about it? Are you on the path you set, to take you where you want to bring you what you desire and dreamed of?
- Think about your life. What’s the first word or feeling that comes to you? Do you feel life is an adventure that you get to explore? Do you feel dis-empowered, soured, or like a coward? Are you inspired to create opportunities and ideas? Are you functioning on autopilot, doing the same kinds of things every day?
- Think about who you are. Have you forgotten what you wanted to be, do, see, and experience, before you grew up or got older? Is “who” you are now, who you want to be? Is who you are now, who you turned out to be, or who you had to be, because of life circumstances? If so, do you still need to be that? Who do you really want to be?
Passion means “all in with abundance,” and joy directly results from passion.
If you work for someone, don’t let your job be one that sucks the life out of you. That is not living all in with abundance. Choose one that puts life into you, one that fills you. If you have a family, don’t be a part-time parent who fills life up with things instead of moments. Fully engage with life and those you love. Don’t be a spectator, watching from a distance, afraid of being seen or looking foolish. When you play, play full in. When you Love, Love all the way. Whatever you do, be all in. Don’t stay somewhere out of fear. Living in fear for three weeks or more creates a habit of being afraid. Fear is the biggest, fastest thief of joy.
Joy is an inside job, and you are the boss of your inside.
Stop giving your joy away to a life that is not what you want. That is you stealing your own joy. The fastest way to deplete your joy is to let life pass while you’re settling for the life you don’t want, rushing to put as much action in a day as possible, so you can feel productive, valuable, worthy, desirable. Are you staying so busy working for the all mighty dollar that you’re trading moments and memories for things? Is it time to change and begin choosing moments? Choose moments that ignite your emotions, that make you feel deeply. Be the best you for YOU. Make it your mission to discover what brings joy to you, and then do, be, see, and experience those things daily, or as often as you can. Notice when you feel happy on the inside, from inside, for no reason. That’s joy. It means we should live life full of joy and passion, all in abundance. Discover and do what brings you joy and watch your joy rise.
Success is measured by your ability to tend to your own joy.