When someone is smiling and joyful most of the time (because no one I know is genuinely happy all of the time), we may wonder why they are that way. We may be a little envious of their joy, but there is no need to be. We can have joy too, even in the midst of our pain and struggles. Here are 7 things I have noticed about how people I have known or even me personally have been able to successfully cultivate joy. Note: These may be difficult to implement sometimes, but the more one practices, the easier it will be in the long run. And, no, I have by no means been perfect at any of these 7 ways of cultivating joy, but I am working on them.
1.) Realize everything you have and/or get is a gift, and is not really anything one earns or deserves.- When you realize that each thing you get or are entrusted with is a gift, without having an “entitlement” attitude (an attitude marked by the “I deserve it; give it to me or else no one is happy attitude” ) about everything, I learned that you are able to appreciate each blessing you are given more, because that is what the grace of God does–gives abundantly to those undeserving. You would also value each person, thing and situation as a blessing because you understand that God is in them, and you would understand how much He sacrificed (i.e. His Son) in order for you to have that blessing or even a breath of life and a heartbeat!
2.) When dealing with a difficult person, always try to find something good about him or her.-– This is what I dub the “Rachel Scott principle,” in honor of one of my heroes of the faith I had blogged about a while ago. She had said something like that we should always find the Light in someone. This may be very difficult if this person is especially difficult, but persist anyway. You will always find at least 1 thing that’s redeemable about him or her. When you do find that good thing, try to encourage them through this quality and cultivate that redeemable thing.
3.) In a difficult situation, always try to see if you can learn something from it.-For instance, if you are dealing with losing a loved one, you may find that you learn to treasure the moments you have with the people who are still in your life more. Also, if you are dealing with abuse or rejection, you may learn to have more compassion for others going through the same things you are and to value people more in contrast to the person or persons abusing you. I’m not saying that these situations are good or even desirable, but that there is always something good to learn from a situation, even a really bad one.
4.) Help others in need-The more one is able to invest in others’ lives, the more joyful I find these people are. Even if for some reason you are not able to invest a lot, one still can pray for or encourage another human being. Don’t forget about people who are hurting or suffering, but help them find joy in their lives, and cheer them on as the joyful moments in their lives show up.
5.) Do what you enjoy– Always find some time to do what you enjoy, what you like to do, what your passion is. This is not to say you may not have times where you can’t do these things right that second, or that you won’t have to do some things you don’t like. However, do find some time to do what you enjoy so you can recuperate after a stressful situation and find joy in other situations as well.
6.) Do everything wholeheartedly-This means when (and if) you work, do it diligently and with passion (i.e. with everything you have!) , setting goals and rewarding yourself when you meet them. This also works for doing household chores, schoolwork, and other things one does to either maintain oneself or serve others. Also, when you help others, always try to do it with a smile and the attitude to match. Don’ t do things half-heartedly or “just because you have to.”
7.) Live with a purpose.- When you live with a particular aim or purpose in mind, everything you say and do ultimately matters. For instance, personally, I live to glorify God, and all these things I do hopefully meets that purpose. When you live to have a good, positive influence on the people around you, all your goals and priorities will be to that end. If you feel aimless in your life, I would ask yourself what you are passionate about. Are you passionate about God? Family? Combating injustices? art? science? Cultivate your life to that purpose.