This is the season when exclamations of joy abound. But does rushing from store to store and party to party create joy? Is joy measured by how many presents we open or the number of lights we hang on our houses?
The stores and parties often generate more stress than joy. And by now, we all realize that presents and decorations, while fun, don’t result in deep feelings of contentment.
This quote from Marianne Williamson was in my local Sunday paper this week:
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”
We frequently walk through life thinking we’ll be happy as soon as something happens: we get the job, we have a child, we win the lottery. Or even something smaller: it doesn’t rain today, our partner comes home in a good mood, we have a good hair day.
Marianne suggests that we already have joy in our lives, but don’t always recognize it. We take for granted so much in our day to day lives that we don’t take the opportunity to see there is much to be joyful about in our lives right now.
This may be easier to recognize if you’re financially stable and have a loving, healthy family. But even those in more unfortunate or even tragic circumstances still have reasons for joy in their lives.
I often feel joy just seeing the beautiful colors in the trees here in the Northeastern fall, or the snow on the tree branches in winter. It’s hard not to feel joyful when you see a small child laughing. Do you have someone you love who loves you? Nothing’s much better than that.
By the way, all this is just as true for our businesses. We tend to spend a lot of time focused on what we’re not doing and the money we’re not making. Even with the most positive attitude, we’re looking forward toward achieving our next goal.
During this holiday season and heading toward a new year, take time to reflect on the clients you have right now, the expertise and experience you have to offer, and the blessed freedom you have as an entrepreneur to decide how to structure your life. Even if you’re just getting started and don’t have lots of success yet, you can savor the excitement of embarking on a new adventure with all its possibilities.
Recognizing how good things really are is closely related to be grateful, I believe. And feeling grateful leads to joy.
What are you grateful for right now?