We all long for a joyful life. To be in the company of people who are happy and peaceful is nirvana. We create visions in our heads of what a joyful life looks like then we proceed to Pin everything that meets that perception.
- A tapestry stitched together with squares of fabric cut from old clothing that your children no longer wear, but you can’t part with. PIN
- The premiere list of books your children must read by the time they are 10 or they will never succeed in life. PIN
- Places to see the night sky that are so remote it will take you days to get there, there is no cell coverage, or hotels, but…Milky Way. PIN
If we aren’t pinning we are liking joyful life posts on Facebook and hearting the feeds on Instagram of families who obviously have been graced with the Joy gene and we begin to wonder, “Why didn’t I get that?” The truth is, you do have that. Joyfulness is IN all of us and costs nothing. On our best days we are like little fairies sprinkling joy dust through our compliments and grins, gentle hugs and helpful, guiding hands.
Joy isn’t something you can purchase.
OK. Maybe that’s a lie. Because I’m pretty sure that Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream is actually JOY in A CARTON, and Amazon’s packages have smiles ON THEM. That seems pretty darn joyful. Right? And have you seen kids eating ice cream or running to the door when the “Amazon Man” comes? Pure JOY.
But we all know it’s not really the ice cream as much as it is the person’s ability to eat what they chose to eat, and it’s not really the thing in the package as much as it is something arriving that the person freely chose to purchase. Joyfulness is obtained when humans are free to make decisions AND when they feel connected to others in relationships that are built on respect, acceptance, trust, and presence. Philosophically, many people know this, but there’s a breakdown in putting that philosophy into practice. Like a muscle, joy needs to be worked and it can be strengthened with daily exercise. In “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One”, Dr. Joe Dispenza speaks to this idea of moving from philosophy to mastery:
If you take intellectual information that you learn as a philosophy, and then initiate that knowledge into your life by applying it enough times until you master it, you will ultimately move from being a philosopher to an initiate to a master.”
Want to be a joy master?
(24 of these will not cost you a penny!)
Parents speak kindly and respectfully to their children
Punishment and shame are not used
Parents do not hit or spank their children
Children are included in discussions and their opinions are considered when making family decisions, especially decisions directly related to them
Parents view playtime as an opportunity to connect with their children
Parents engage with their teens by listening to their interests and concerns versus telling them what their interests need to be or how they should feel
Learning is not coerced or forced and is respected as the individual, unique endeavor it is
Children have complete body autonomy–no force or coercion for affection. Hugs and kisses are theirs to dole out, not something to be taken
Family members offer grace when mistakes are made
Don’t blame and isolate
Spend time together in nature
Talk openly about any issue
Chores are not assigned–house maintenance needs are discussed and people pitch in willingly
Parents have a flexible mindset
Have multiple family pets
Parents do not openly compare their children
There is no competition for resources–what the family has is shared among the family members
Parents set personal boundaries for themselves and work with their kids to set developmentally appropriate boundaries
Parents respect their children’s natural body rhythms and do not create hard and fast bedtime rules
People sleep where they are most comfortable and feel the most secure
Personal space is honored
Children are encouraged to explore and take in the world around them
Children’s questions are taken seriously and not brushed aside as ‘cute’ or ‘silly’
Parents (and kids) volunteer time and effort to a cause that speaks to their soul
The clock only tells time it does not dictate life