A few months ago I wrote a blog about being sorrowful. At the time I was feeling a very intense feeling of sorrow and I believed it was because I knew deep down that there was something that I was supposed to be doing that I wasn’t doing. Basically, that I was missing the point.
Months later, as in now, I feel the opposite. I feel tremendously joyful to the point where I get up feeling so excited but don’t necessarily know what about. To the point where I constantly have the desire to wave my arms in the air and hug a motionless Buckingham Palace guard. To the point where I fearlessly walk out into the world because I know that good things are coming my way because I am experiencing such phenomenal anticipation of these wonderful things to come.
So how did the change happen? That change from tremendously sorrowful to phenomenally joyful? Well, below I am going to attempt to list the steps I took. Here are:
TEN STEPS TO COMPLETE AND PHENOMENAL JOYFULNESS:
STEP ONE: Pay attention to your mood and emotions
Many people will tell you to ignore your emotions, not to be so irrational and to suck it up when you complain about feeling unhappy, unfulfilled or disinterested in what you are doing and how you are living. But I’m saying, forget about that, pay very close attention to YOU, not them, they don’t have to live your life and they don’t have your inner experiences. By pay attention I’m talking look at the frequency with which you experience emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, excitement, i.e negative and positive emotions. Do you experience more negative emotions than positive ones? When do you experience the negative and positive ones? What are you doing when you experience them? Who are you with? If you can map out what emotions you feel, when and why, then you are able to change the things that make you feel sad and insecure to the things that make you feel happy and excited. In this process also you will come to realise the things that you really love and the things that you really don’t like at all — that is really valuable knowledge to have about yourself.
STEP TWO: Make the change
Yes, change is uncomfortable. It is easier to stay where you are, where you are accustomed and where you know is ‘safe’. But the delicate balance of your emotions, of your loves and your hates, of you happiness and unhappiness, all depends on the complexity, the make-up, of your life. If you don’t change anything then that delicate balance won’t change. I mean this isn’t rocket science. If you are in a relationship that is 15% happy and 85% frustrating the chances that you will ever be 90% happy in that relationship are very slim unless both of you change some big things. If you are in a job in which 10% of the time you do things you love then by law of human emotion you will be unhappy most of the time in that job. You have to change something. And with the essential knowledge of your emotional landscape and the things you love and don’t love you know what needs to change. So DO it. If you don’t do it because you are too lazy or scared, then don’t complain, you’ve made the choice to be unhappy.
STEP THREE: Choose to smile
Even though change is happening because you are choosing to make the change, things take time to get better and life isn’t always fun and games. But if, in those times when you have to do something you hate doing or be around someone you don’t like being around or be in a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, you chose to smile instead of frown and complain, if you chose to love the person next to you by simply encouraging them and wishing them a good morning, if you chose to give everything your best effort and find every possible reason to smile and smile as a result, you will be more joyful. Because though life is full of ups and downs and is far from perfect, there is beauty in every aspect of it, sometimes it is just hidden under all of the dirt, ugliness and sadness. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find it. But it is always there. You always have a reason to smile. So find it and smile.
STEP FOUR: Dig deep to find your beauty
As I said, sometimes beauty is hidden beneath things that are repulsive, even with respect to your own self. The repulsive things aren’t the essence of you, they are just the things of your past, the hurts, the disappointments, the trials, the struggles, the failings, and all the things that you feel guilty or ashamed about. Those things mask your beauty in a thick dirt coating. So you got to dig deep to find your beauty. Sometimes really deep but don’t stop digging because your beauty is definitely there, I can guarantee it. It is one of those things in life that I can guarantee and that I would stand in front of a bullet for — everyone is beautiful beneath it all. When you start digging you might find some horrid things, worms, dead insects, rotting bones, and more, but don’t stop digging. And when you throw all that stuff aside, throw it REALLY far so that you NEVER have to see it again. Dig deep and find your beauty, your talent and your purpose, recognise it and start living like you are supposed to — beautifully.
STEP FIVE: Come to terms with who you are and just let go of the past
It’s about throwing that dirt far away from sight. That stuff doesn’t make good fertiliser, it only makes you rot inside. Everything that has ever brought you down in the past, toss it, you have a life ahead of you. Realise that your beauty is always the same despite these things. But when you get rid of all of that dirt your beauty can shine through more, it is more recognisable, you can smile more and you can — most of all — be yourself. I know that it is really hard to let things go. I had (and still have) things that really burdened me my whole life and made me insecure and anxious. But I literally surrendered them the day I looked in the mirror and told myself ‘You are beautiful and nothing can ever get in the way of that’. I tossed all the dirt when I decided that day that I wasn’t going to continue being fertilised by the rotten elements of my past. I made the decision most-of-all to believe in the unchanging nature of my beauty — that even though I didn’t believe I was beautiful in the past I always was and I always will be, it is just a matter of me deciding to believe it. And I did — and everything changed as a result!
STEP SIX: Recognise the beauty in others
By step six you will already know what you love and don’t love, you will have the courage to make changes to do what you love more, you will be able to smile in the face of adversity or difficulty, you will have uncovered your beauty and let go of everything that was preventing you from living beautifully. The next step is to recognise the beauty in others. Knowing yourself and what you have been through and that still you are so beautiful, having made that discovery despite your doubts, you now know that beauty is everywhere and often hidden. So go out now and spread the news and start encouraging people to uncover their beauty, firstly by telling them they are beautiful. This is not a lie, because everyone is beautiful and you will see that if you allow yourself to be beautiful. Compliment people, encourage them when you see glimpses of their natural beauty and don’t ever give up on a person who stops wanting to dig for their own beauty. Encourage them all the way. Two secure and confident beautiful people is always better than one.
STEP SEVEN: Just help people
Now that you have begun helping people uncover their beauty, you can go further and help them in other things. Just help people. Whenever you meet someone ask yourself, how can I help this person? More specifically ask, how can I help this person be joyful? And when you get the answer, because you probably will, DO IT. HELP THEM. Just give your time, your money, your prayers or simply your love to them. There is a reason you are in their lives! A society of secure, beautiful and joyful people is a better society. So harness as much beauty and joy as possible. There is no doubt that most of your joy will come from helping others, not yourself.
STEP EIGHT: Broaden your perspective
When you become more secure and joyful you actually start focusing less on yourself and your own needs and instead on the needs of others. This in turn makes you even more joyful because you are not focusing on negatives, you are having a positive impact of others’ lives and you are looking at the bigger picture of ‘everybody’ instead of just the minute picture of ‘you’. Your vision is greater, your perspective is wider and your horizons are further. You start to see what is truly out there, the beauty of it all, all that is there to be grasped, a life that is worth living and loving. You start to see all the things that you love and the opportunities to do those things. You start to become, as I did, really really excited.
STEP NINE: Expect great things to come
When this excitement falls upon you, let it be, raise your arms and fling them about in merriment and know that there is great reason for that excitement. Know and EXPECT that great things are coming to you and grasp them when they do. Great things are going to come, great feelings of joy and great blessings. And NEVER stop expecting more to come.
STEP TEN: Reflect, rejoice and be thankful
Take time to reflect. If tremendous sorrow can so easily be turned into joy, all based on one decision to see, appreciate, encourage, harness and enjoy your beauty, the beauty of others and the beauty of creation, then you know that you NEVER NEED TO SORROWFUL AGAIN. And, because I believe in a God who created all of this beauty, give thanks to Him for all of this, ask Him to continue to reveal hidden treasures to you (He will do this), and let Him be present in your life because of all the beautiful things that exist, He is the most magnificent.
‘The Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his JOY went and sold all he had and bought that field’ Matthew 13:44