Choose Joy

Monday, November 19, 2012

There are so many times I wish I was Taylor Swift singing my heart out to songs I wrote myself about stupid men who made a lasting impression that warranted a whole beautiful song. But reality kicks in, and at the end of the day I am just me, not T-Swift. People might think that is weird, and truthfully I wouldn’t want to put my name on those songs, I might think it’s weird. 

I recently read a book about what the author refers to as “allowing people to steal your joy” and it struck a cord with me. I know I have allowed this to happen so many times in life, even though I am a generally happy person. I am a sensitive person, and words resonate over and over in my head, especially when they are disapproving or hurtful. After a rather upsetting night with people who certainly do not deserve any of my joy, I picked up a book, not knowing what the inside held, and found this conclusion of not allowing the joy to be taken. I jumped in the car for breakfast with my girlfriends, and I blurted out this entire summary on what I just read. 

After some time, the girls all agreed that the book was right, and that we need to all be better about this in life. Getting angry at the person who cut you off in traffic, the lady at your meeting who glared at you when your cell phone rang (I actually was in a meeting last week where someone yelled at an older lady because her phone rang, I felt terrible for her), your boss treats you unfairly, or in this case someone makes you feel you are not worth anything is only allowing those who offended to steal your joy. You are the one who ends up paying the price, you are the one who walks away upset. 

All of that makes sense to us friends, but one friend asked the question that I couldn’t seem to find an answer to: “How do we stop it from stealing our joy if it truly upsets us?” I don’t remember what I said, but I think it was something along the lines of “just don’t let it” but the more I think about it, the more I know it is not that simple. That is the part the book didn’t explain. The “how to” part. 

So here is what I came up with, and keep in mind, what do I know? Who am I anyway? I will tell you why I have street cred in a minute. I sat here, in my bed, where I do most of my deep thinking, and started asking myself how to stop it. I couldn’t stop thinking about how upset I was that one person who I barely know and who really doesn’t know me (nor care to know the real me) made me feel small. And even though I was repeating what I read about not allowing my joy to be taken from me, I already had. I had done it in the moment it happened, the entire rest of the night, the time I was trying to sleep but thinking about how angry I was, to the next day in the car when I was sharing my new life advice. 

Then, I began thinking. I told myself I fought really hard to get to this place in life. We all have. Maybe you didn’t have a major organ removal and a transplant, but you may have had something that made you fight just as hard if not harder. Even if you weren’t literally fighting for you life, I promise you we have all had to do a lot to get to where we are now. I started feeling entitled. Entitled to never letting someone make me feel small or weak or not worthy of every desire I have in me. I started feeling like I had broken a promise I made to myself to not let the trivial day to day stuff upset me. I remember telling God that if He made me better I would never be sad or mad again. Obviously this is not possible, but what I do know is possible is to be selfish when it comes to happiness. Choose it, want it, and keep living it. 

Once I remembered this, and brought it to light again, I figured it out. To choose joy you have to get rid of those circumstances or people who take it. You don’t literally have to “get rid” of them, but in your mind you do. And sometimes that even calls for moving on from friendships with friends or relationships. Avoidance is not what I mean here, I just mean accepting that a person doesn’t want joy for you, yet keeping it for yourself regardless. It all boils down to one simple word here. CHOICE. 


  1. Nice post. :) Its funny here's what i wrote about a few days ago...
    Never heard of the book though! :)


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