When Finding Joy is a Struggle

By Terry C.

Joy to the World ….. Christmas and Joy go hand in hand, or so we expect. Yet many of the people I talk to actually struggle to find joy or happiness at this time of the year or any other. They are trying and trying to find joy, only to feel it is not available to them. But what I would like to suggest is that joy cannot be “found” by looking for it. 

Consider the very young child looking at rapt enjoyment at the simplest things. Wonder and joy are in the very way a child plays. No one has to teach them this. It comes so very natural to children. As long as they feel safe, connected and loved by those who care for them, small children are naturally joyful, happy and content exploring the world around them. 

So what happened? How did we go from just experiencing joy, to feeling like we have to chase it? I think the answer is that we allow robbers to come and steal our joy. Joy robbers show up as common things we may not even realize, such as: Unrealistic expectations we set for ourselves or others; comparing ourselves to others; and my personal favorite, believing we don’t deserve to feel joy. 

What I have found is that when we eradicate the joy robbers from our life, joy shows up often in the simplest and most surprising ways. We all have the capacity to feel joy and wonder from birth. You may feel great joy the next time you find yourself gazing at a beautiful sunset or watching an infant discover her feet for the very first time.

So, the next time you feel the need for joy, ask yourself “What am I letting rob the joy from this situation?” Make this change and you may very well have a joyous holiday!

Special note: one of the biggest joy robbers in our lives can be depression. If you have tried everything you can think of and still feel a loss of joy, please find a therapist near you. Or contact us and we will try to help you find someone to talk to.  Call us at 319-244-8341.