My Joy Lessons
Things I Learned About Living a More Happier and Joyful Life
by Gregg Gonzales
I’m sure we all have the same wish - for our kids and people we care about to be happy, healthy, fulfilled, and to live a life that brings them joy and meaning. It took me a long time to realize this, but the best way we can help them and others do this is to do this for ourselves first and foremost. I used to think that focusing on becoming happier was selfish. I’m now certain that it’s the least selfish thing I can do. In fact, I think of it as a great responsibility I have to my family and the people I love and care about.
These lessons are, and continue to be, inspired by my loving family who teach me everyday how to live with more joy and self-compassion each day. As a means of giving back, I wanted to share this list with you and I hope you find these thoughts helpful and inspiring. Feel free to share this list with those you love and care about so it can help them too. (And feel free to add your own thoughts and ideas to the list!)
In the end, it’s really all about love.
Don’t wait for any one human to give you all the care and love you crave. No one can be your all, but some people can be your a lot. Cherish them.
Stop trying to be fearless. If you’re trying and learning, you’ll feel fear. It’s ok. Remember your bigger why, the reason you’re taking this journey, and hang on to it. It will guide you through the fear.
Be grateful for the tiniest things. They all matter. Even if you feel sad, you can find some beauty around you to appreciate. It will elevate you.
You deserve the gift of your own kindness. Treat yourself as you would a good friend, even when you make mistakes. It won’t make you complacent; it will help you be better.
Most things are better after a good night’s sleep.
When in doubt or stuck, go for a walk.
You can only change yourself - not other people, not relationships; just you. If you want to change anything, including the world, start within yourself.
Be. Here. Now. Don’t rob yourself of living today because you’re lost in yesterday or leaning into tomorrow.
Happiness isn’t the absence of negative emotions. You’re not failing at happiness because you feel sad or angry. Let yourself feel what you feel, but don’t lose sight of the little moments of warmth, kindness, or beauty that are always there, even if you have to wipe away your tears to see them.
Hiding your unique gifts from others isn’t humility. It’s stealing. True humility is to accept your responsibility to share your contributions. There may be someone whose life will be changed by them.
Sweat the small stuff that makes you even the tiniest bit happier. Fill your shelves with books you love. Rush to the farmer’s market for the seasons first strawberries. Buy pens you like to write with. Move your desk to catch the morning sun or a better view. These make up the texture of your life.
There is no such thing as a wrong emotion. Give yourself a chance to feel what you feel, even if it’s difficult. The less you try to fight or avoid a feeling you don’t want to have the easier it will be to move through it.
You. Are. Enough. You’re lovable and amazing and deserving of true genuine happiness exactly the way you are. You don’t have to do anything more to earn it. You’re a being, not a doing.
People care a lot less about what you do or how you look than you think. Mostly we’re all focused on ourselves, so stop worrying about perceptions and live your life.
You experience 100% of the emotions you give to others. If you feel angry at someone, you experience anger. If you experience kindness, you feel kind.
It’s OK to have a mess of a day. Sometimes you do need to eat too much, watch too much TV, and hide under the covers away from it all. Don’t beat yourself up for having a bad day. Tomorrow is a new beginning and a chance to start over.
If you do something and it makes you feel spectacular, don’t ignore that feeling. It’s the universe trying to tell you: This thing you just did? Do it more often. This applies to what you do for work, too.
Be more honest. Being vulnerable doesn’t make you weak, it makes you real. Be real. It’s a gift not just to yourself but to everyone around you.
You’re not your thoughts. You’re not your feelings. They’re part of you but not the entirety of you. Learn to be aware of them rather than become them.
When you’re having a horrible day, even the tiniest achievements feel amazing. Clean your desk, do a handstand, write things down on your to-do list that you have already accomplished.
Be intentionally kind and expect nothing in return. The kindness boomerang will come back to you.
Give up your ideas of how something should be. Life is unfolding as it is, and you have a choice to either be awake to how it is and go from there or suffer wishing it were different.
Find time for stillness and silence each day. Don’t be afraid to spend some time alone. Alone = ALL ONE
If you don’t know what to do, do something. Don’t wait to figure out; start doing and you’ll be able to make any decision better, later.
Travel more and often. This may be one of the only ways to buy happiness with money. Also, take time to travel on your own. You’ll discover more about yourself than the places you visit.
Take care of yourself. It’s not selfish; it’s your responsibility to the people you love. There is no glory in being a martyr.
Laugh loudly and often.
Never be too busy for a hug. Or too grumpy. Or too proud.
Just because you can’t see it right now doesn’t mean the path isn’t there. Keep taking steps forward.
As stated before - it’s all really about love. Not romantic love, not any specific kind of love, just love. It’s within you. Find it. Nurture it. Share it. Grow it. Swim in it. It’s always the right answer, although sometimes you’ll have a hard time seeing it. Keep looking.