By Nicki Anderson, Creator and Director of L.E.A.D.S.
“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” M. Williamson
Have you ever engaged in conversation with someone who said, “I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop!” In other words, they don’t believe that a good thing can last. I’ve always struggled with those that seek out the rain clouds when the sun is shining. The belief that “it’s too good to be true” can actually rob us of much needed and well-deserved joy.
According to the online version of Merriam-Webster, joy is a state of happiness, a source or cause of delight. Sadly, as we develop our “adult eyes” we tend to see more of the negative in our world. When that happens, joy fades. As joy fades, it is replaced with cynicism, fear, and in some cases, despair.
Although I tend to be a pretty joy-filled person, it wasn’t until I had grandchildren that I realized the real power of joy. Joy it turns out, is not only available to all, but also catching! Who knew? As a grandparent, I now have the time to sit and watch my grandchildren and share in their joy. Their ability to just be in the moment without pause or effort is inspiring. They marvel at the smallest of things because for them, joy naturally takes center stage.
How does the joy children experience translate to adults?
Here’s what I’ve learned:
Sometimes we confuse joy with happiness. Joy runs much deeper. It’s a longer lasting state that leaves us feeling more peaceful and content. Happiness comes in spurts and tends to be less intense. Joy also tends to be more challenging to nurture. If you’re able to connect more frequently to the things that bring you joy, the easier it gets. Even in the most challenging of times, if you can find a way to connect with joy it brings about hope, and where there’s hope there are endless possibilities. Here’s to joy!
Nicki Anderson is the Creator and Director of L.E.A.D.S., an undergraduate leadership program for women at Benedictine University. She resides in Naperville with her husband Bill. They have four grown children and two grandchildren all of whom bring her much joy.