MY TWO CENTS:
In the new My Two Cents series that launched last week, we shared some thoughts about the idea of choosing to love rather than just feeling love. This week, I wanted to tie something into our forthcoming Thanksgiving holiday and decided that wrestling with the idea of joy would be well-timed.
In the English language, the word joy has many synonyms: happiness, great pleasure, gladness, delight, elation, jubilation, and bliss. These are apt synonyms when trying to make correlations between a single word or a simple phrase and a more complex concept like joy. Since I’m not one to use a single word when there’s an opportunity to use many more, I thought it might be fun to go a bit deeper. ;-)
Distinguishing between a joy filled life and circumstantial happiness is something that Kris and I have been working to help our kids understand as we parent. Part of that work is remembering ourselves (as the ever-maturing adults) that, while our circumstances may dictate whether we feel happy or sad, pleased or annoyed, delighted or frustrated, we get to choose to live in a state of joy.
Joy seems to have more to do with a person’s outlook on life than the actual circumstances that surround them. In the grand social experiment that is Facebook, we can see touching story after touching story of people facing major pain and loss that are still living joyful lives in contrast to the perpetual whiners that make us scroll all the faster past their posts. Choosing to find the positive, approaching situations with a cheerful attitude, and being grateful for the gifts and blessings of life seem to be cornerstones of those leading joyful lives.
I came across some questions that challenged my thinking regarding my own joyfulness while preparing for this week’s MTC edition. Here are those questions for your consideration:
- Am I more positive or more negative? What examples from my life prove this?
- Is my gratitude for intangible blessings greater than my happiness over physical or material things? How do I know?
- Am I a complainer (do I criticize and tear down) or an encourager (do I build up)? How do I know?
- Would others describe me as joyful, or as negative and grumpy? Why would they say that?
We would absolutely love to have you share some of the joys of your life with us. Or, if this edition encouraged or challenged you in some way, please feel free to share that as well. Make it a great week!
Scott Cousino, CFP®
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