Many people confuse happiness and joy. They are both fantastic feelings to experience, but are very different.
Happiness is the delight and fulfillment of the psychology soul, the psyche. The psyche is the center of thought, feeling, and motivation, consciously and unconsciously directing the body’s reactions to its social and physical environment. Happiness happens through external situations based on other people, things, places, thoughts and events.
We define Joy as the delight and fulfillment of the spirit. It comes when we make peace with who we are, why we are here and how we relate to God and others.
The French philosopher and scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, “Joy is the infallible sign of the presence of God.”
To experience joy we do not have to add anything to our lives. Rather, we have to give up certain behaviors.
Here are “10 things we must give up to experience true joy.”
1) Give up living in fear. Fear can be good and bad. If we are walking on a road and come across a grizzle bear looking for a meal, fear can be helpful. Our brain activates the sympathetic nervous system that changes our bodies into a flight or fight mode. However, living in fear about what might happen is like paying interest on money you didn’t borrow … it burns up energy, it goes nowhere, and keeps us from living in the present.
2) Give up negative self-talk. We are our worse enemy. We often tell ourselves what we cannot do, or we are not good enough, we are not worthy or our past has put us on the wrong road of life. Negative self-talk leads to poor self-confidence, low self-esteem, and bad attitudes. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
3) Give up living in the past. We have all made mistakes in our youth. Don’t carry the baggage of your past with you in life. Let go of the good and bad so you can live in the present.
4) Give up living other people’s dreams or seeking their approval. Many people spend their lives living other people’s dreams and aspiration. Everyone is unique. Each person must find out who they are and what God wants them to do in life.
5) Give up resistance to change. The old ancient Greeks had an expression: “Everything changes.” That’s true. People change, ideas change, the things we use change. In today’s world, the pace of change has speeded up. We seek comfort and security but we have to accept change as a constant reality.
6) Give up comparing yourself with others. Someone will be always smarter, better looking, and more successful than we are. When we always want to like “him” or “her,” then we are not looking and developing our own God-given gifts and talents. Be yourself totally.
7) Give up your need to impress others. We all want people to like us. We often do or say things to impress others. Be transparent. Be authentic. Be the best version of yourself.
8) Give up blaming others or our circumstances. Bad things happen to everyone. People have hurt us and we will continue to be hurt. It all depends what we do with the hurt. No one is dealt a perfect hand in life. We have to stand up, take a deep breath, and move on.
9) Give up complaining or making excuses. With God’s help, we are in control of our lives. Life is not perfect and we should not accept it to be. We are imperfect and so is everyone else. We have to do the best with what we have.
10) Never doubt that God has a plan for each of us. God has made us different and has given us different talents and abilities. God wants us to use our talents and ability to make our world a better place to live in. We won’t experience that deep joy until we do what God wants us to do.