Oftentimes, people shy away from Joy because they’re in a situation or crisis that seemingly does not warrant it. Despite what’s going on, adding Joyfulness to your repertoire of Character Traits means “Maintaining a good attitude, even when faced with unpleasant conditions”. In other words, Joy brings strength in the midst of sickness, pain, loneliness, frustration, a family crisis, sadness, and feelings that no one can understand how you feel. For Joy is your greatest ally, your greatest weapon, and your greatest “friend”. It’s what will pull you through whatever you are facing.
When asked by one of his aunts how his school year went, my son said, “It was the worst year of my life!” True, my family went through some of our greatest challenges. So, I pulled him aside and reminded him that when I was 8 and in the 3rd grade like he was, my mom died at the age of 35 and it too was the worst year of my life. I then said, “Hey, at least your mama didn’t die AND I’m 42!” He gave a little smile and agreed it was true. Then I said, “And hey, you made straight A’s, was put on the Principal’s Honor Roll, was 1 of 12 other children in his entire school who had perfect attendance, and…we’re going to Cocoa Beach, FL to visit your cousins and surf, dude!” To him, from saying I didn’t die to him going to see his cousins, all of those things were funny.
Reality is that bad things, challenges, do happen to us all. And yes, you will never forget those bad times, especially if those times have altered who you are. However, you can forgive and find laughter and good things to focus on that proves you made it through to the other side. In an episode of Criminal Minds, one of the characters said, “There is a place inside where you can feel joy that will obliterate pain!” See, joy is intrinsic and cannot solidify within you just from external sources. You have to tell those dumb jokes in the midst of your situation. You should turn on your favorite music and dance around looking goofy. And you have to purposefully choose that joy comes every morning. Therefore, start each day proclaiming that joyfulness is how you live your life; or as my son would say, “Joyfulness is how I roll!”