I had a tremendous response to last week’s show that I called “To Life.” It was in memory and honor of a dear friend who passed away recently, but I didn’t want to focus on death. I wanted to remind you, dear listener, that you should live your life to the fullest every day. And I believe for that to happen, many of you who are listening by radio or podcast or reading my newsletter need to
unloose yourself from the rules and expectations of others who steal your joy and make your life unpleasant.
Today I want to continue my thought on “To Life,” and I’ll just call it “To Life: Living Life with Joy.”
I spoke last week on three main themes to living an exceptional life:
- I want to encourage you to live your life to the fullest…now.
- You need to live the life you were designed to live.
- Ah, friend, many of you need to learn to live with joy.
I want to continue the thoughts of living your life to the fullest, living the life you were designed or destined or pre-destined (depending on your belief) to live, and I want to yell from the mountain top that you need to live with joy. And today I want to walk you through the idea of living with joy in the midst of your current pain and trouble.
Let me do a quick rabbit trail. Some of the unhappiest people I know are those who see the world as an evil, wicked, immoral, horrible place and, while you are correct on many levels, if you live with those negative thoughts on a daily rerun in your mind, there is no doubt that you will become a part of what you think about every day—you can’t help but be dragged into the mire of negativity—and I guarantee, as you go through it, you’ll smell like it and look like it in a short amount of time.
I’m not a Pollyanna to say that everything is all right in the world. I travel internationally, and I can tell you, without a doubt, we are living in perilous times, but I am pretty sure that ruminating daily on all the evil in the world isn’t going to make your world any better.
Do you turn a blind eye? NO! Absolutely NOT, but do you let it run your life, or better-stated ruin your life? That answer should also be NO, because while you’re fuming over politics, people, world events and your in-laws and outlaws, other people are going to work every day doing what they do best and living their lives with joy. Yes, they know what is going on in the world; they just don’t let that, which they cannot influence or change…influence or change them. Doesn’t mean they don’t care, and it doesn’t mean they don’t get involved on some level; it means they care more about what they can influence and change in the lives of those around them to help build others up for a lifetime of achievements.
So, to unloose yourself from the rules and expectations of others who steal your joy and make your life unpleasant, you need to pull yourself away from the gripe of darkness and, simply put, do your part to make your world a better place for you and your loved ones, and leave the rest to your Creator.
So what do I mean by do your part? Well, for starters, if your world is upside down you, need to stop running in circles and figure out how to make it right side up again.
One of the notes I received this past week was from someone who said that every time she thought she was finally going forward, some unforeseen event knocked her down again, and here she is… staring up at the ceiling from her position of being knocked back down to the floor. She emailed me to ask, how does she change her world (since in her mind she has a litany of truly sad tales) of all that is wrong in her world and all the bad that seems to find her and follow her until she falls again or life knocks her down.
From my perspective, there are two parts to her cry for help: First is as hard to do as it is to say. As far as I can tell, her condition is tough, and, frankly, she has limited options at this point in life, but one thing I would push her (and others who feel the same way) to do and understand is that every day she has to find something to be hopeful about. She has to find her sliver of light and move forward, even if it is one slow, painful step at a time. When your life choices are limited, let me remind you of a quote I saw recently that said, When life knocks you down, roll over and look at the stars. (For those in the family of faith, just a quick reminder that the Bible tells us God knows each star by name. I love that thought).
Because of her current situation, this lady doesn’t appear to have that many options, but the thought of giving up? …that’s not an option, that’s a cop-out that will lead her nowhere again.
The second bit of advice I would give is to think about a time when she was successful. Without a doubt, I know there was at least one or ten times in her life where things went right, and, for a moment, I would ask her to cling to the memory of her success. And, no, I don’t want her to simply name it – claim it as many would have you believe, but I do think she needs to back off her negative emotional state and focus on what she can do well and can do now—even small steps—to cement the idea of success, however small that may be, to reinforce her memory of control on her terms.
Once you re-set your mind to a positive and successful time in your life, and work really hard at that moment of remembrance and not let your craziness take over and make your mind wander away back to your current situation, you will now have a foothold on which to anchor your emotions to begin the long climb back to your best self.
Every doctor will tell you that, in this life, you need rest, water and an activity of some sort to get your heart pumping and your blood gushing through your veins. Once you re-build your broken, worn out body, you have a much better chance to rebuild your worn out, broken life.
I see it all the time. Those who are often on the verge of falling off the rails are the ones who neglected their physical state, and, frankly, as you only have one life, you have one body that needs to be cared for to work at optimum potential. The world is too hard for you to work from a position of weakness—you’ve got to find a way to strengthen your mind, body, soul and spirit.
My letter-writer is going to have to create better health to give her better use of her mind; as hard as that will be, it is a requirement for her success in her current situation.
Every day I have clients who are disappointed in their job options and have become snarky and self-sabotaging to the detriment of their job-searching potential. Instead of seeing joy in the journey, they’d rather spit and sputter and take a dreadful job and complain, instead of slowing the process down (yes, I know they need an income), but slowing it all down to focus and work towards a successful outcome, that will in time produce a successful income. Find joy. Find joy as you would look for anything of value in your life.
As I mentioned last week with the words of Erma Bombeck, “…mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it … look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.” It is not going to be easy, but, tell me, what other choice do you have?
Rarely does something come easy in this life. Sometimes you have to learn to live with joy, or find joy or create joy and, frankly, joy is the best word I can think of for the description of gladness, delight, bliss, enjoyment, pleasure and good ole happiness. If you choose not to believe my thought for today, that’s fine, but know this—you are sentencing yourself to a mediocre life of existence instead of living the life you were designed to live, a life of joy, or, at the very a least, a life with joyful moments that will add up to enough at the end of your days.
Ah, friend, it is never too late to find a way to live with joy. Earnestly seek what would be a complement to your life to provide for you a respite of happiness, a place of contentment and a life with joy. That would be a life well lived—a lasting living memory of all your hopes and dreams that others will see and watch and perhaps carry as a remembrance of who you really are.
Live with joy. The life choices that you can make any day you choose, please choose them wisely—your joyful life may depend on it.