Choose joy, Always

Choose joy, Always

Regardless of your surrounding circumstances.

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To me, joy shouldn't be something that is a side effect of our circumstances, but a habitual state of presence that results from Thanksgiving.

I've always thought of joy as some complex state of being that only came from boisterous amounts of success or recognition from people. I always thought that if everything in my life was going the way I wanted it to, then at that moment, I would experience blissful joy. If I got an A on that exam.... got noticed by that one boy... or even got a certain number of Instagram likes, that I would really, TRULY experience joy.

In the midst of it all, this is where my breakthrough came through. I realized that regardless of my circumstances, regardless of the grade on that test, or what some guy thought of me, I was going to CHOOSE joy and I really mean choose it.. not just attempt to experience it.

Joy doesn't have to come from monumental breakthrough points in your life when prince charming comes and the sky opens itself to you, it comes when you choose it; when you decide that regardless of what blows your way, that your state of mind enables joy to inhabit every corner of your innermost being.

Its simple really, if you choose every day to get out of bed and tell yourself that today is going to be a day, then it is. The power of your words and thoughts in your mind are what enable you to be able to experience raw, blissful joy.

To you, joy might come from grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend, walking to your hideout spot in the midst of a stressful week, or even just vegging out on the couch for a night with your girls.

Whatever it might be, we must realize that joy isn't as complex as we all try to make it out to be. I find simple and true joy in the morning when I choose to make it a point to crack open my devotional and have my quiet time with the Lord. In those small moments, I realize that they are big parts of my days that allow my innermost being to experience the simple joys in life.

Whatever it is, take the time to really truly CHOOSE joy. Don't wake up in the hopes that you'll have a better day, create it. Voice it. Use the power of your state of mind and words to make it a priority each and every day to CHOOSE joy. It is at that exact moment that we realize that the little things are really, really big things.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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The Selflessness Of Self-Care

It is OK to nurture yourself before nurturing others.

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Do you find yourself prioritizing taking care of others before taking care of yourself? I do.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Saiarchana, and I am a nurturer. Nurturing people is something that has almost become second-nature to me because I am so accustomed to doing it. I love uplifting others and being there to give them support when they are in need. I love giving support to others so much that I am even majoring in Psychology. Nurturing is something that is incredibly important to me. I nurture others because I don't want anyone to feel alone or unsupported.

But, sometimes I forget to nurture myself.

I used to believe that taking care of others involved sacrifice. This kind of sacrifice was my own energy and self-care. I lived under the belief that by pulling away and taking care of myself, I would be labeled as selfish. So, I kept on nurturing others around me.

Until I broke down.

I was giving so much support and care to others, that I had forgotten about me. I am also a very important person in my life. My relationship with myself is incredibly important, and I had forgotten that. I was so focused on pouring love and care to others, that I had forgotten to water myself with those same sustaining forces. I was getting drained and worn out from nurturing and giving love to so many people around me because I was neglecting myself.

When I realized what was happening, I finally understood: Love is not starvation. I do not need to starve myself in order to feed others. I do not need to neglect my self-care in order to care for and give love to the people around me. Nurturing others does not equate to neglecting myself. Because, once I neglect myself, I end up not being able to show up fully for the people in my life.

I read a quote by an influencer named Allie Michelle. Michelle said:

"Taking care of yourself is selfless. An empty well cannot give water to a village."

When I read this, it was as if my eyes developed clearer vision. I recognized that I believed that self-care was selfish when actually it is one of the most selfless things I can ever do for this world. When I am able to take care of myself, I am at a healthier and stable position to give care to others. When I give from a place of lack, I end up lacking more. Giving my energy to others when I am in desperate need of recharging my own energy will end up making me feel emptier. It is like the good analogy from Michelle's quote. I cannot give from an empty source. When I forget to give love and care to myself, I reach a point where there is nothing left to give to others, because I haven't maintained a solid foundation for myself.

Giving care to others should be a fulfilling experience, not a draining one. In order for it to be a fulfilling experience, I need to make sure I am not giving from a place of emptiness. I need to nurture myself because doing so will give me a stable foundation. So, I finally understand the key to nurturing others: making sure I am nurturing myself first.

So, what now?

I am going to continue giving love and care to others. But this time, I am going to make sure I am nurturing myself too.

I hope you nurture yourself too. You are worthy of the love and care you give to others.

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