Joy is an important part of our lives. It gives life meaning and a sense of contentment. Sometimes, it comes naturally in our lives, but other times, you have to be deliberate about it.
Living life involves interaction with other people and the environment, significantly impacting your joy and peace. Although you cannot control everything, you can choose not to let anyone steal your joy and peace.
Below are 6 tips for living your best life and ensuring that no one steals your joy.
Don’t Rely on Others for Joy
It is not up to your partner, friends, or other people in your life to bring you joy. It is primarily your responsibility. And other people’s input should only be the icing on the cake.
So, how do you create your own happiness?
It starts by putting yourself first and learning to love yourself unconditionally. Take time to learn yourself, offer yourself affirmation and validation, accept your flaws and weaknesses, and forgive yourself.
Develop a good relationship with yourself – like you would with someone you love. Spend some quality time alone observing your thoughts, engaging in an activity you love, journaling, etc. Offer yourself words of love and affirmation such as:
- I love you
- You are enough
- You matter
- You deserve a good life
- You are worthy
- It’s okay to be you
- It’s okay to have flaws; everyone does.
Each day look yourself in the mirror and say such affirmations to yourself. Also, ask yourself,
“(Your name), what can I do to make you happy today? How can I be kind to you today?”
Listen to the answer and offer yourself what you need to have a good day and feel contented.
Also, do acts of love for yourself. For instance, if you like flowers, don’t wait for someone else to buy you flowers. Go to the flower shop and get yourself a bouquet of your favorite flowers. Book a spa treatment for yourself, go on a solo vacation to your dream destination, make your favorite meal, or dress up and go to your favorite restaurant for dinner.
If there is someone in your life to do these things with or for you, it is a bonus. But you do not have to be dependent on them to have fun and find joy in life.
Design the Perfect Days for Yourself
The best way to get ahead of your day and make the most out of it is to plan it out. Each morning or the night before, think about what you need to do on a given day and how you can make it a success.
Even if most of your daily life is taken up by work, there are ways you can go about it that maximize your productivity and gives you satisfaction. Think about what makes you feel energized and incorporate it into your day. For example, you may need to schedule break times away from work or lunch with a friend or spouse during your lunch break.
Also, infuse your day with small things that bring you joy. For example, wear clothes that make you feel vibrant and good, call your best friend on your way to work, take a walk in the evening, or watch a funny movie after work.
As you go through each day, assess what brings you joy and flow. Which activities have a high level of engagement and energy? To have joy and experience flow in your life, you need to incorporate more engaging and energizing activities and find ways to bring ease to the less enjoyable ones.
Your morning and evening routines are also essential for ensuring a perfect day. Schedule some quiet time in the morning to connect with yourself, plan out the day, and condition your mind with a positive attitude and positive thoughts. Many people find that doing activities such as exercising, meditating, praying, basking in the sun, taking a walk, or journaling in the morning helps center them and get them focused for the day.
On the other hand, an evening routine helps you release the day’s stress and wind down. It could include exercising, cooking dinner, watching a movie, reading a book, some quality time with your kids or loved ones, a soak in the bathtub, or relaxing music.
Prayer, meditation, and journaling can also help you wind down. Give yourself a few minutes away from electronics and bright lights before bed to allow melatonin to kick in for deep, restful sleep.
Remember, the above are suggestions. Figure out what works for you and your schedule. Maybe you like to work out in the evening rather than in the morning, and vice versa. Or, you have a busy morning, and you can only meditate in the evening. The idea is to have a system that helps to optimize your energy levels, productivity, and mood.
Let Go of Other People’s Expectations
Humans are wired to seek other people’s approval and validation from a young age. We rely on our parents for guidance on how to go about life and what is considered right and wrong.
While some level of guidance is necessary for the early years, we continue to need validation and guidance from others even when we are adults. The problem comes in if what you want conflicts with what you have grown up thinking is expected of us.
As your social circle widens, the expectations increase and the scope widens as everyone in our life has different expectations of us. While some expectations from others are well-meant, others are a projection of their fears or failures, yet others are malicious. The expectations can be explicit or perceived. Others are an illusion.
Attempting to meet all these expectations is a losing battle. First, you lose yourself in an attempt to make everyone else happy. Second, these expectations keep changing. So, the target keeps shifting, perpetuating an unending cycle of frustration.
To live your best life, you must regain control of your choices. Since expectations are implicit social contracts with others, you need to opt-out of them. Make choices that make sense for you and align with who you are. Sometimes, you may need to speak up for yourself and set boundaries.
Take ownership of your life and have confidence in your decisions. No one understands yourself and your life better than you do. So as an adult, you are the only person who can make the right decisions for your life.
While you relinquish your power to make decisions for your life, give other people the same. Give up any expectations or judgment you may have towards them.
Do Not Compare Yourself With Others
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – said Theodore Roosevelt.
Sounds familiar? Relatable?
Have you noticed that you may be feeling contented with your life and the progress you are making until you compare yourself? Then suddenly, you are inadequate, your life is not good enough, your house is not big enough, your car is not enough, etc.
Comparison gives you a kick in the gut when it comes to your self esteem, satisfaction, and confidence. It demeans your self-worth. It makes you take your life for granted.
Don’t let comparison steal your joy. It could be self-inflicted or from other people. Whichever the source, you need to guard yourself. In the era of social media, where everyone is flaunting their life, it can be difficult to protect yourself. Nevertheless, take the necessary measures.
Keep off social media or unfollow people whose content triggers your self-doubt. Also, refrain from comparing your life with another person’s life. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and that is enough.
If someone close to you constantly compares you with others, voice that you do not appreciate it. If they do not stop, reduce contact with them or cut them off as it is a form of emotional abuse.
Sometimes, parents or bosses may compare us, hoping that it will motivate us to do better or aspire to the other person’s success. Hardly is this approach effective. Even if it seems effective, it fosters unhealthy competition or resentment among the people being compared. Therefore, avoid comparison by all means.
Let Go of Things that Bother You
Don’t let things that bother you linger in your mind for too long. Build your self-esteem so that if someone says mean things to you, it won’t bother you. Journal, talk to a loved one or see a therapist to process difficult situations or emotions about an issue. If you wronged someone and it is bothering you, take responsibility for your words or actions and apologize to them.
Ultimately, create a vision for your life and determine what is important to you. Then focus on that and let everything else fall off.
Keep Off Toxic People
Cutting people off from your life may seem extreme, but sometimes it is warranted. Some people do you more bad than good. They compromise your peace, mental, and emotional health. And, as difficult as it may be, it is best to stop caring about them, cut them off or minimize contact with them.
It is much harder to cut off a family member you feel obligated to. In such a case, minimize contact with them. Keep conversations minimal and professional, such that you only communicate when it is absolutely necessary, and you do not tell them about your life.
When it comes to friends, this is where you must exercise control. While you do not choose who your family is, you can determine who to have as friends. Be deliberate about it. Choose people that add value to your life and genuinely care about you. People who are positive, supportive, and inspire you.
Practice Gratitude Daily
Gratitude is not overrated. It has immense benefits both in the short term and long term.
It brings a sense of joy, contentment, peace, and harmony. It also helps to boost your mood and foster a positive perspective of life. Even if there could be worrisome things happening, it helps you focus on what is working. In the case of difficult relationships, it helps you appreciate other people’s lives who truly love and care about you.
Therefore, practicing gratitude daily is a sure way to generate joy in your life and ensure other people do not steal it. Practicing gratitude can take different forms, including keeping a gratitude journal or jar, taking time to reflect on what you are grateful for, or expressing your appreciation to the people in your life. You could also practice gratitude meditation.
We are social beings. Therefore, it is inevitable to engage and interact with others. However, some of these interactions can steal our joy and impact our emotional and mental wellbeing. You have to be deliberate about putting measures in place to protect your peace and joy. For example, keep off toxic people, let go of things that bother you, let go of other people’s expectations, and avoid comparing yourself to others.
While we may not control everything about our lives, we have a significant say. So, be intentional about how you live your life daily. Design each day to bring joy and make the most out of it. Plan your schedule carefully, create routines that work for you, and infuse activities or things that bring you joy each day. Also, practice gratitude daily.
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to generate joy and happiness in your life. So, love yourself, appreciate yourself, and do things for yourself that make you happy. If other people come along and add more joy to your life, great. If they don’t, you will be just fine.