Joy is not a one time feeling or a series of feelings. Although I do believe it can be experienced more acutely in some moments more than others, joy is not temporal or conditional. That doesn't mean time and conditioning can't be leveraged to cultivate real lasting joy with our everyday choices.
Joy is a state of being and state of mind.
It’s not simply a feeling or experience but it’s a way of looking at the world along with each and every one of its circumstances while carrying a perspective that transcends the power of any given moment.
“Fighting for joy” for me simply means making choices in the midst of any situation that brings me closer to my purpose. The fight becomes developing strength to identify which choice will bring me closer to my true purpose and values or lead me further away from them down a path I don’t want to be.
Centering on My Purpose
Purpose doesn’t mean simply doing the things I like to do but doesn’t exclude those things either. To understand my own purpose in life, I have developed an exercise of observing my actions and taking better notice of what they yielded each day. Since I will always reap what I sow, I learned that to have the joy I really want in life, I will have to look closely at what I’m reaping and decide if I want to sow more of the same or make a change to get something better.
I haven’t always been so present with my choices and over the years I made a lot of poor, impulsive, and entitled decisions that really didn’t line up with my true values. Often what I've been after is temporary pleasure or moments that filled my sense of pride but not my soul. I was reaping a lot that really didn’t satisfy.
Fighting for joy means reminding myself in the middle of any moment why my effort is worth the struggle, pain, inconvenience, effort, tears, or discouragement.
There will come a payoff and trying to overlook or anesthetize the pain of a struggle is a sure way to miss the moment and gain the strength that hardship could have yielded me.
Pleasure and comfort are wonderful things but if I value them so much that I don’t allow pain to teach me anything, I’m missing out on some much deeper and richer experiences that could inform and grow my joy.
I can only fight for joy in my most uncomfortable moments if I’m truly centered on my purpose.
Developing a better sense of my purpose and joy comes in part by listening to my thoughts, my desires, and actions, and receiving the feedback I get from following through on those thoughts, actions.
I can judge the consequences of my actions objectively and better decide how to concentrate more of my time, effort and attention on the things that satisfy me the most and easily jettison anything that doesn't serve my purpose.
When the temptation to quit, blame, doubt, fear, or run away comes, I can remind myself about which path I really want to be on.
- Jack Nicholas