This post was inspired by a movie I recently saw called Girls Trip. Yes, that one. Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Regina Hall and Tiffany Haddish…that Girls Trip. It only happens every now and then that you go to a movie and leave feeling like you had an experience. The sincere laughter, sighs and “Oh no he didn’t’s” resounded through the crowd and usually I want to enjoy a movie without all of that. But this movie called for it and I found myself joining in on the side commentary. After the movie was over I felt so good. Being that I haven’t been in the best of moods lately, I realized this movie made me joyful.
How was that for a transition? I tried. I’ve been telling everyone about the movie and couldn’t exclude you! But you came here for a blog about joy, right? I had to tie it all together some how.
Stay with me.
Whether it’s through a movie, a book, a friend, a prayer, whatever it is, there are moments that do bring us happiness. It could be for a short moment or maybe a bit longer than that, but I’m pretty sure we’ve all experienced it. I’m also going to assume that we strive to have more joyful moments than not. But what happens when we lose our joy? How do we find it? Better yet, how do we keep it and is it even possible to be in state of joy 24/7/365?
I’m going to try to break it all down.
Let’s go on the journey of losing our joy. *inserts the most sarcastic smiley face ever*
“Why can’t I find a job? Why did so and so say that to me? What am I doing with my life”
Overthinking. This has to be the starting point of losing our joy. Overthinking sends us into a downward spiral. Maybe it’s overthinking past, present and future situations and circumstances. Or overthinking all the issues and obligations we seem tied to. Why can’t I find a job? Why did so and so say that to me? What am I doing with my life?
Stress. That overthinking leads to stress. So, now we’re stressing over everything. The things we can change, the things we won’t change and the things we know we can’t do a darn thing about. Basically, just stressing to be stressing. Why?
Doubt. With our dash of overthinking and sprinkle of stress, we get into doubt. Doubting our abilities. Doubting if we’re using our time wisely. Doubting if we’re walking in our purpose.
If I had to pick the most crucial point on this journey of losing our joy, it’s this…
Comparison. So, now we’re overthinking, stressing and doubting. But life goes on and we have to go on with it.
Here’s a relatable moment. We go about our day and subconsciously we pick up our phones and start checking our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat… Somebody’s got a new car, new boo, new job, new city, new baby…accomplishing all these things, which are all great and wonderful things. But when you’re losing your joy, a part of you starts taking inventory of other people who seem to be 100% happy. Negating the fact that everyone has bad days. And not knowing how hard someone had to work to get where they are. We even forget that not everyone we follow has the things they say they have. Yet we still start to compare ourselves to others, based off what we see without knowing the whole story.
“…we ironically neglect the very things that give us that joy.”
If all of this is building a formula to how we lose our joy, let’s go ahead and add the next part.
Neglect. We neglect what we know brings us joy. We neglect God, people, hobbies…whatever it is. In the midst of losing our joy, we ironically neglect the very things that give us joy.
And now here we are, feeling super unhappy and joyless. What we can’t do is dwell in that negativity. I want to scream that at the top of my lungs: STOP DWELLING IN NEGATIVITY!
I’m definitely not a therapist, so I don’t have a “correct” answer (if that exists). What I will do is share the simple ways I regain my joy. Hopefully, there are some gems in the mix!
“Talking to yourself does not equal crazy, ok?”
Prayer/Meditation. This brings an instantaneous return of my joy. I take the time to purposefully talk to God and quiet the noise around me. True joy is confidence in knowing that God has your back at all the times. Stay close to Him.
I love this simple definition of meditate.
Meditate: thinking deeply or carefully about something.
Clear your mind. Light some candles. Take a bath. Close Instagram and Snapchat. No, really close it. Take a break. Social media will be there. You’re not missing out, sis.
Talk to Yourself. I am the biggest advocate of talking to yourself. And no, talking to yourself does not equal crazy, ok? I mean I don’t just walk around having conversations with myself, but I’ve had several late night drives home and had the most intense pep talks with myself. It’s the best free therapy. I’m able to talk through exactly how I’m feeling without judgement. As good as it is to have someone to vent to from time to time, it’s cool to trust yourself enough to encourage yourself back to joy.
Try Something New. Ok, what’s that thing you’ve been wanting to do and keep putting off? You know, that thing that just popped into your head. Make it happen!
Quick story time. I mentioned earlier how I was in a funk. It was intense! It seemed like it lasted longer than any other down time I’d had before. I gave myself a weekend to just get myself together and made a promise to myself to do something I’d been putting off for months. There’s a pretty dope life group in my city called, Saved in the City, I’m sure some of you have heard of it. I told myself that this week I was going to go, no questions asked. The day of, I felt like backing out. I even headed home. I stopped myself, turned around and I went. I’m so glad I did because it was awesome. I literally received confirmation on things I’d been struggling with for the longest! I left in an awesome mood.
Point is: Move on the things you’ve said you want to do. You owe it to yourself. Who knows what could come of it?!
“All I need is good music or a lit podcast (The Read & 2 Dope Queens are personal favorites, just saying lol).”
Do What Uplifts You. Quick! Think of something that puts a smile on your face. Make it super simple. You got it? Now go do it! When I’m feeling joyless, I think of something I know will lift my spirits. The key to this is to make it something simple that doesn’t take too much effort. All I need is good music or a lit podcast (The Read & 2 Dope Queens are personal favorites, just saying lol).
Accomplish Something. Write a to-do list for the day. It doesn’t have to be too extensive. Be realistic. Make a promise to yourself to check off everything on your list. There’s something so satisfying about seeing the physical check next to each task you complete.
“Reclaiming your joy does not mean that you are immune to bad days.”
It’s pretty easy to lose your joy. It can be pretty hard to find it. And it’s even tougher to keep it, but let’s try to work through it. Here are five ways to keep your joy!
But first, let’s get this out of the way! You GOTTA understand, there will be days that you’re just not feeling it. It’s unavoidable. There will be days that you’re not feeling the job, a relationship, the weather, your hair, your circumstance. Reclaiming your joy does not mean that you are immune to bad days. Recognize and accept that. Then, equip yourself to be able to successfully navigate those moments.
I feel like a therapist. “The first step is acceptance.” Who am I lol?
“Staying in the Word = staying in the Light = keeping your joy!”
- Stay in the Word. Simply put, life can be tough! As a Believer, I know that I need to be equipped with God’s Word to live my best life. Staying in the Word = staying in the Light = keeping your joy!Don’t let the darkness consume you. If you don’t know where to start, try the book of John. I’m making my way through it now (hit me up if you want to discuss it).
- Stay inspired. What is that song, that thing or that person that when you hear it, see it or experience it, it makes you want to jump up and become a freaking superhero? Keep those things/people around. Take that inspiration and transform it into something beautifully beneficial! Inspiration leads me to accomplishing things, which keeps me positive.
“See, this is what we’re not going to do today.”
- Discipline Yourself. Tread carefully. Don’t beat yourself up, but sometimes you need to reel yourself in. Let me tell you, I’ve had to hit myself with a quick “Girl, what are you doing?” or a “What is this?” and definitely a “See, this is what we’re not going to do today.”Recently, I caught myself not acting on the things I knew I needed to be doing and going to sleep after a long day of accomplishing nothing I wanted to. I had to quickly put myself back in check. It might not seem like it’s helping now, but it will in the long run. You’ll thank yourself later.
- Love yourself. Another simple one. I don’t consistently do daily affirmations, which I need to work on. But, when I’m feeling super joyless, I reaffirm every positive thing about myself I can think of.Alex Elle is bomb with the daily affirmations and inspiring self love. Check her out, especially if you can’t think of anything positive to say to yourself. I love taking her words and personalizing them.
- Do Something for Someone Else. You may feel tired and down, but let me tell you! Giving a piece of you even when you feel low, will give you limitless joy. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or costly. Start small: give a smile and a compliment. When you’re driving, let that person over who thinks it’s a race when two lanes are merging into one…woo, that one was personal. Like seriously, don’t you hate when people do that?Being genuinely nice and giving opens you to keeping your joy.
This was a long one and if you’ve made it to the end, I’m just going to say we’re bff’s. lol.
I don’t have all the answers and I’m figuring it out as I go, just like everybody else. So, I really want your feedback on this. How do you stand firm in joy? Better yet, how do you keep your joy even on the days you’re just not feeling it? Scroll down a little bit and comment below!