Give you the gift of knowing what brings you joy

Do you have a heart’s desire? Do you have something in life that you do that brings you absolute joy? Is there something that you are just naturally good at that others come to you for?
These are questions I ask to start you contemplating. I do not at all expect you to know the answers right away. In fact the fun game would be to say write what comes to you immediately and put that aside. Then come back later and ask yourself the questions again.
The answers are percolating. You do know. Sometimes though it is not so easy to acknowledge or own what makes us happy.  We are often conditioned to do what is right by someone else’s bidding. We grow up being steered and guided into directions that will be what others want.
This does not mean that we will not experience a range of emotions in pursuit of what makes us happy. This is normal. This is being human. It is when we let the emotions guide us and inform rather than overwhelm us that it is healthy.
Having a taste of and then knowing what brings us joy is a gift.  When we start to claim this gift we get more. When we ignore or dismiss then we just park aside the possibility for later.
I truly believe that within each of us is this amazing, wonderful part of us that clamours to express itself.  How do you notice it?
There are a few signals:

  • When you expend effort it is with ease
  • You enjoy the process and the outcome
  • Others respond and affirm in some way your offering
  • Successful people in the same space inspire you
  • If you go for periods of time not doing this you feel empty, drained
  • In the midst of your activity you forget about time

You may experience some or all of these aspects plus more. They are just indicators.  The real answer is when you just know. No one else needs to tell you.
Then the challenge is getting past the doubter and inner critic in you that might say ‘who am I to do this’.  If for a moment you said to yourself I am going to do this one thing that makes me truly happy what comes up?
If you are scared you will get in your own way.
If you listen to other doubters and naysayers you will get in your own way.
If you want to please others too much you will get in your own way.
If your ego keeps you small then you will get in your own way.
No one but you is getting in your own way.
It is ok to get in your own way. Yes I just said it is okay. If you give yourself permission to be both the person who can find joy in what you do AND get in your own way then you have awareness and true acceptance of self. The only thing is that you may not like getting in your own way. Over time it wears you down and the result is frustration boredom and possibly more.
So my invitation to you is to keep asking the questions. I also invite you to be kind and acknowledge the part of you that gets in the way. Imagine for example that you are at a tea party. It’s you, the joyful one and the blocker. How can you make peace between the three of you? What can you do to listen, hear and choose what is right for you?
I will leave you with that and wish you well on your journey of discovering the gift of knowing what brings you joy.

Jenn Shallvey