Don’t Wait for Joy

March 4, 2022

Chalk art of a hot air balloon.

Don’t wait for joy.

Create it.

Every moment you can, throughout every single day.

Actively, intentionally, enthusiastically, and intuitively.

Don’t sit around waiting for the day when you suddenly “feel joyful.” If this is your approach, it means you’re hinging joy on circumstancesYou’ll feel joy when you lose weight, find a partner, make more money, and have the things you want. It’ll happen when the economy levels out, and the world seems peaceful again. You’ll get it from your friends, that fancy brunch spot, or the new wardrobe you want.

But joy isn’t a feeling we achieve from people and things…

Joy is a state.

It’s a way of being and engaging with the world.

It comes from within, and it’s something we must actively cultivate.

I taught myself this lesson once before, back when I was slowly approaching 30 and finally (finally!) coming home to myself. I’d spent most of my late teens and 20’s stagnating in relationships, doing work others told me I should be doing, building a life that wasn’t truly aligned with my heart, feeling lost and deeply depressed.

I used to despise the word joy.

I honestly had no idea what it meant.

I knew what it felt like to be happy at times, but joy was elusive.

For much of my life, I felt like I was constantly seeking. Always consuming other people’s blog posts, reading books about everything and nothing, admiring art of all kinds, and following the lives of people who inspired me. People who were showing up fully expressed, unapologetically, and contributed to the world. Trying to find true joy—something I couldn’t even name at the time.

But my life never really moved forward.

Not until I started prioritizing pleasure, joy, and self-care.

Not until I started following my whims and dabbling in my delights.

Not until I gave myself permission to play and explore and do what lit me up.

Everything changed when I started filling myself up, living my joy, and feeding my soul. I felt more like myself, began building this business that I love, had fun with nutrition and fitness (becoming my healthiest self in the process), and started actually experiencing life. I went on adventures, learned new things, and began expanding in ways I’d always desired. I raised my worth as a natural byproduct, and the most incredible opportunities, clients, and communities began falling into my lap. Life became synchronistic and magical in every possible way.

Joy was the key.

But even more important: I didn’t wait for it.

I stopped believing I had to change my circumstances and the externals of myself and my life to “find it.” I simply started creating it for myself, from exactly where I was. Inside of depression and feeling lost in relationships that weren’t fulfilling, I started actively cultivating joy. In small, seemingly insignificant moments, I prioritized pleasure and joy. I lit candles and ate dinner on pretty plates I found at thrift stores, and I wore lip gloss and earrings. I walked to the park to swing on the swings, and I brought ritual to every aspect of my day. I wore clothes that felt good and went to places that piqued my interest. I soaked in bubble baths and painted my nails. I leaned into joy, further and further every day.

But it isn’t about the things we do.

It isn’t about the material goods or having bubbles in your bath.

It’s about actively cultivating pleasure and joy.

If something made my life feel a little brighter, I did it.

If something made a stressful experience more fun, I did it.

If something made the mundane pleasurable, I did it.

I actively, intentionally, enthusiastically, and intuitively created joy.

And my life transformed rapidly.

I’m learning this lesson again.

Coming out of seven years of healing and growth and meandering slowly home to myself after loss and trauma, this lesson has become undeniable: live your joy like it’s your job. Focus on what lights you up, energizes you, feeds your soul, and expands your heart. Fill yourself back up and trust that that’s exactly what you need to become who you’re here to be. Find those things, what they mean to you today, and prioritize them like your life and business depend on it—because they do.

And so, I share this lesson with you, too:

Don’t wait for joy.

Create it.

Every moment you can, throughout every single day.

Actively, intentionally, enthusiastically, and intuitively.

Whatever that looks like for you.

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