What if you held yourself to a Standard of JOY and not Perfection?
At the beginning of this beautiful holiday season in 2017, I promised myself that I would focus on JOY. I wanted to do all things as defined by what I considered joyful. I didn’t want to do things because I HAD to do them… I really didn’t want to do things because I was SUPPOSED to do them… I wanted to live in such a mindful way over this holiday season where what I did was dictated by whether or not it brought me JOY.
And let me tell you… I have been on the brink of tears this entire morning because waking up this Monday morning, I can tell you that I honored that desire to live JOYFULLY this whole weekend long- and it felt AMAZING!
This weekend my husband surprised me with the MOST amazing early birthday gift ever! We drove the 3+ hour trip from Portland, Maine to Uncasville, Connecticut to attend the Pentatonix concert (and enjoy dinner, drinks, and general adult togetherness time) at Mohegan Sun.
It was amazing!
We had an incredible time… but as I woke up this morning I thought about the rest of the weekend and how, while yes, huge events like that are kind of pre-disposed to be fantastic… but it’s the compound effect of smaller moments throughout, that maybe seem as obviously wonderful, that REALLY establish the level of JOY we feel. And ultimately, it’s the CHOICE to feel joy throughout the moments, big and small, that dictate the actuality of it.
Let me give you some examples:
-On Friday, before I even knew what we were doing- I only knew that we were going somewhere- I chose to bake cookies all day with my kids and not really give an ounce of a thought to work stuff that I “should have” plowed through. This may seem like a “duh” – cookies trumps work all day, every day. Well yes, it does… but when you work for yourself from home, you love what you do, and your income is in direct proportion to the impact you make- that work “to-do” list can seem awfully enticing. ESPECIALLY when you know you will not be able to touch it the rest of the weekend. But here’s the thing, I knew that if I had forced through getting work done that day, I would have felt really badly about missing out on the JOY of holiday cheer and baking with my kids. I chose joy. I baked the cookies and had special time with my sons.
-After the concert my feet were killlllling me. I could feel the blisters forming by way of my super cute high heels. So, I chose to go back to our room and change into sneakers, post-concert. Another “duh” moment, right? Well, maybe not. Think about how FUN it is to be out and about (especially if you are a parent to tiny humans and NEVER get to do this stuff) and how EASY it is to just “suck it up” so that you don’t stop the party. My outfit looked amazing- it brought me joy to put it on as we went out that night… but when that joy STOPPED being so apparent, I decided to find it again. It was a simple thing to do- but how often do we IGNORE the simple things that could ultimately bring us joy, and just force through in a state of feeling “good enough”. I chose joy. I changed the shoes.
-This morning, when I woke up after a fun weekend of over-indulgence I laid in bed with a smile and really tuned into what my body WANTED. It’s Monday- typically a go-get-’em, bust out a hard workout, get your sweat on, and get back on track type of morning. But this morning my body REALLY wanted yoga, stretching, flow, and centering. Honestly, in previous times in my life I would have immediately forced myself to do a workout to burn off some of the calories that I consumed over the weekend, completely as a punishment and with an air of judgement and self-loathing. But working out that hard today, and speaking to myself with such a negative tone, CERTAINLY was not going to bring me joy. I chose joy. I did yoga and meditated and spoke words of self-love and congratulations for allowing myself to experience such a joyous weekend.
My friend, tiny things matter. Choosing to laugh it off, rather than stew in the swirl… choosing to honor your desires, rather than forcing yourself to following your self-prescribed rules… choosing JOY, rather than some cockamamie definition of perfection… these things MATTER.
I’m a work in progress. Sometimes I choose the hard road. Sometimes I beat myself up. Sometimes I’m snippy. Sometimes I don’t put in the internal work, which ALWAYS ends up blowing up in my face in my external life.
But this morning, I’ve had that lump in the back of my throat and tears in my eyes because I KNOW that this weekend, I honored what I promised myself I would do at the beginning of November. I held myself to a standard of JOY, and not perfection and treated myself with GRACE, not deprecation. And for that, I am proud!
Kickin’ it over to you now, Love. What would happen if you CHOSE JOY? How would you feel? What would the little moments look like? Some fun things for you to think about on this amazing, fresh-start of a Monday in December of 2017!!
Wishing you SO much love, so much light, and so much JOY!