Celebrate With Joy

Celebrate With Joy

It is time we all get on the same page and celebrate the true meaning and feeling of Joy.
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I literally cannot believe I am home already for the Holidays. Where has this year gone?? I started out 2017 going into my second year of college, taking on some new leadership roles, and pushing myself to take my writing to the next level; and now, I am excitingly studying abroad during Spring semester of 2018.

I personally feel this past year has been a year of personal growth, discovering my true relationship with Jesus, and learning how to stand my own ground as a woman in life progress.

I have been trying to take in this past semester and really enjoy the little things, but it can be hard. When thinking about the word "Joy," I really had a hard time getting a grasp on the word.

Everyone has a different meaning and definition of it.

To start, everyone has a different meaning of joy. There are families all around us that do not know the true meaning of Christmas. They celebrate their family and children by giving them the newest and shiniest toys, the top brands that everyone in school wants, or the hottest car.

I can't lie to you that getting gifts is so fun, and I know we all love it. But when it comes down to it...is that really what we look forward to all year? That joy? We sit and research to come up with the best Christmas lists around. We need the most expensive, beautiful gifts to fulfill our hearts.

Or, how about the families that cannot afford gifts and presents at all? They celebrate by sharing a meal, asking how each others' days have been, and trying to give their children the gift of love. How can that be the same feeling of joy that the other side of the world does differently? Do the children that don't receive gifts have a different viewing and feeling of the word joy?

What about the families who celebrate Christ? They spend the night of Christmas Eve at a mass and sing the word of God. They find joy in knowing that someone with a higher power loves them unconditionally.

Each way of celebrating this Holiday is done differently. Is there a right and a wrong? No. But I am here to encourage both myself and anyone who has continued to read this to find a more general meaning of joy and teach that meaning to anyone who wants to listen and feel the way you do.

Around this time, I want to feel unconditional love from Christ, my family, and our neighbors, and also see the want and need to help others. Sound cheesy?

Of course, it does, because it is hard to make happen. We spend the entire month of December madly shopping to please one another. It can be frustrating having to plan meals to see family that you only see during this time of year.

I am encouraging us all to take a step back and see the true meaning of Christmas, and maybe that will help us celebrate and see the joy in this world.

Cover Image Credit: David Orsborne via Pexels

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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I'm Keeping My Christmas Tree Up All Winter And There's Nothing You Can Do About It

It's the WINTER Season... ;-)

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I think that my tree would not be considered Christmas-y if the ornaments are taken off and the lights are kept on. I think to just looks wintry. I am also keeping up decorations that say "let it snow", and I am keeping up any snowman without holly berries or presents in their hands.

The tree looks wintry in my opinion. It looks pretty with the lights and brings the room together. It gives off a warm ambiance, unlike that of fluorescent lighting.

I've taken all ornaments off except for gold snowflakes and I've left the silver tinsel garland on as well as the lights. It looks wintry to me still. I will probably be taking the whole tree down by the end of this month to prepare for Valentine's Day decorating. (Yes, I pretty much decorate my apartment for every holiday—sue me).

There's nothing like coming downstairs and seeing those lights sparkling.

Or coming inside from a dreary, rainy day outside and seeing them light up the room in a calm, warm, and comforting glow.

Or having a bad day, looking up, and seeing them shine.

It sort of makes me upset when I come downstairs and see that someone has unplugged them, to be honest.

I guess they don't see it as I do.

Pretty, twinkling lights forever!

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