A few days ago I had what you could call an ‘A-HA!’ moment. It was a moment of joy that made my heart swell but also brought a very important realisation.
Every morning when I take my five year old to school, she likes me to peep through her classroom window and wave at her when I’m leaving. She usually beams at me and waves back or blows a kiss. The other morning though, when I peeped through the window, she’d gone to talk to her best friend. She was showing her friend her Easter bonnet that she’d made and was looking very proud of herself. In that moment I felt like my heart was going to burst with love and joy.
Obviously ths wasn’t my first moment of joy all, but this was the first time I thought ‘This is what it’s all about… it’s not about being happy all the time, it’s about all the little moments of pure joy that make us truly happy.’
On my journey of self-development, I’ve been quite focussed on finding peace and happiness. In my mind I had a picture of me in the future, in my kitchen going about my everyday life, with a big smile of happiness on my face. I think I assumed that at some point in my future I’d have ‘developed myself’ enough that I would feel happy all the time!
The thing is though, life’s not like that. There are always ups and downs. There are the stressful times, the mundane moments, the tasks we have to do but really don’t want to (that’ll be ironing for me!) We need to feel and embrace all the emotions, not just the good ones. What I’m trying to say is don’t ignore those negative emotions, acknowledge them, but keep in mind that they will pass and a moment of joy will always be round the corner.
I now know that all the self-development books and articles I read, all the e-courses I’ve taken, all the gratitude lists I’ve written and all I’ve learned about mindfulness has guided me to to the realisation that it’s all about moments of joy.
Where are your moments of joy?
Take a minute to think of some recent moments of joy. If you’re not feeling great or if you feel life is passing you by in blur, it might take a bit of digging but I bet you can find a few joyful moments. Your morning coffee, a kiss on the cheek from a child, reading a few pages of your favourite book, receiving a funny text that made you laugh, seeing the blossom appearing on the trees. Sometimes it’s hard to see those moments of joy so here are a couple of things we can do to make us more aware and focussed on them.
Dwelling on the past or constantly worrying about the future stops us from being present in the here and now. The thing about not living in the moment is that we get stuck in the mindset that something better is round the corner and we’ll never feel happy until [insert major life event] happens. Instead be grateful for our life as it is right now. Be mindful of the present moment and we’ll never miss a moment of joy.
Write it down
For the next week, keep a notebook with you and write down any moment of joy you experience, no matter how small. Doing this simple exercise will increase our awareness of all those little joyful moments and help us to realise that there are actually lots of them in your life. The more we are aware of them, the more they happen.
I’m going to continue trying my hardest to recognise the joy in each day. Simple moments like tickling my son and daughter, helping them with their homework, having cuddles with my kttten and laughing uncontrolably with my boyfriend all add up to such joy and happiness. We deserve these moments of joy in our life every day. Don’t let them pass us by. All we need to do is look for them and they’ll be there.