Choosing Joy Is Hard, But Oh So Worth It
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Choosing Joy Is Hard, But Oh So Worth It

Who said the good stuff was easy?

17
Choosing Joy Is Hard, But Oh So Worth It
Chloe Laine

We've all had those weekends, or sometimes even weeks, where everything that can go wrong is going wrong. Murphy's Law can be a real jerk. We're dejected, exhausted, and ready to sleep away the remainder of the week because it couldn't possibly get any better. It feels like the world and everything in it against us and that giving up is the only option we have. I recently had such a weekend and it put a lot in perspective for me.

After getting sick at the absolute worst time possible I suddenly found myself in bed all weekend. I was so stressed thinking of all the plans I had to cancel. I had to call in sick to work, I didn't get to see my friends, I missed the final review for a test, I couldn't go to church. Complaining was all I did that weekend. Can you blame me? How could anyone find joy in hacking up a lung on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? But I eventually found my joy. I gave my mind a chance to relax. To realize that this wasn't really as detrimental as I had worked it up in my mind. I finished my homework ahead of time. In fact, I finished all my homework and found myself with nothing to do. Normally my weekends are full of plans with friends, church, etc. but not this weekend. Instead, I lay in bed with all of this free time. I took that time to scroll through Netflix - something I literally never do - and find favorite movies I haven't seen in forever. I journaled. I discovered new music on Spotify. I practiced my German (Es ist gut!). I slept, a ton! All of these things are hobbies that take a back seat to school, work, and social life. Hobbies I had honestly forgotten about. Not only was it something fun to fill my time but it was something that brought joy into my day when I felt lousy.

I believe as humans it is our natural reaction to complain and experience frustration and anger when things get rough or feel hopeless. It's easy for us to despair. What isn't so easy is to choose joy in spite of it. It's hard to say "This really sucks but I'm going to be happy anyways". I would much rather wallow in a pit of self-pity because it "makes me feel better,". It doesn't. It feeds that feeling of unhappiness. It reinforces that we are unhappy. Who wants to feel that way? Not me.

One has to be intentional about choosing joy. It starts with recognizing the good in any situation. And then it's the acknowledgment that this moment does not define us. The beauty is we have a choice! A choice to feel miserable and sad. Or a choice to be happy despite circumstances. I used to justify wallowing around because "I just needed a moment to be sad" which is okay. However, I let my wallowing seep into my everyday life and last much longer than it should. I made a list of everything that brings me joy. Reading, journaling, working out, cooking a meal. Now I reference it when I feel myself start to slip down that path of negativity and unhappiness. I carve out time to do something that changes the frame of mind I'm in and brings me joy so I can look on my situation in a more positive light.

Go out and make your list! Remember that whatever is going on doesn't define you, it's how you handle it. Choose joy!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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