Discovering the Joy in Your Life

Written by Claire Colvin

joy-edPeople talk a lot about happiness in the future tense. How many times have you heard friends say, “If I could just find the right guy, I’d be so happy?” But happiness is not a circumstance to wait for. Happiness is being satisfied with who you are, where you are, and where you’re going. It’s all about you. Happiness requires no one else’s approval, validation or permission. Your own happiness is one of the few things you have complete control over and while cultivating happiness can be hard work, it’s work no one else can do for you.

Myths that steal our joy

So why are so many of us unhappy or dissatisfied? There are a lot of reasons, but certainly part of it is because the media and people around have fed us lies and told us that we should be unhappy. We are told what we are supposed to want and when our circumstances fall short, we feel it. Of all the myths that keep us down, there are two that stand above the rest.

Myth #1 You need a “Significant Other” to be happy.

This is possibly the biggest lie out there and arguably the one that most of us believe. Surely if there’s someone who thinks we’re special, who wants to be with us and spend time with us that’s a sure-fire recipe for bliss? Wrong. Somebody, anybody, is not better than nobody. Don’t get me wrong, a relationship with the right guy is a wonderful sweep-you-off-your-feet experience well worth the effort. But if you’re looking for a guy to fill an empty spot in your heart, you’re asking for the impossible and will end up disappointed.

Myth #2 If I just got married everything would be perfect.

It may not be the biggest myth out there, but this one runs a close second. There seems to be a general opinion floating around that if two heads are better than one, then marriage has to be the end all answer for everything. It is tragically untrue. Your husband or future husband is not a Fairy God-Mother with a magic wand who will make all the problems in your life disappear. The hoopla surrounding a wedding can be pretty distracting for a while, but eventually you will get home from the honeymoon and reality will be waiting for you.

The truth is that no man, no matter how perfect or charming, can make you happy all on his own. Happiness is individual sport, just you and the clock. How you see yourself, the kinds of people you surround yourself with, the way you see your job and your place in society – all of these will impact your happiness in a way that no man ever could. And this is great news. It means that you don’t have to wait for anyone, you can start working towards being happier right now.

The first step toward a happier you

If you’re not happy with your life, now is a great time to look at the reasons why (and after getting this far through the article don’t even think of blaming it on your love life!) Why are you unhappy? Are you lonely? Disappointed? Scared? Feel rejected? Unworthy? Angry? Harboring regrets? Take a good long look at what you’re really feeling. As Dr. Phil McGraw, relationship guru to millions through his appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show is fond of saying, “you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” Now is the time to figure out what’s really bothering you.

The time to deal with the issues that are making you unhappy is before you get into a relationship. Think about it – you can be utterly selfish for awhile and only deal with what you need. What you lack in intimacy, you gain in space, and space can be a wonderful balm for the healing process. If you don’t feel like you can face these things alone, head for a friend, not a new boyfriend. It’s unfair to expect someone who hardly knows you to work through these things with you and it’s almost impossible for him to give you the honesty you’ll need. A good friend however, knows you well enough to encourage you and help you and to give you insight from an honest and loving perspective. Don’t doom a new relationship by turning dinner into a therapy session.

You have to like yourself first

The key here is to realize that the most important element to finding happiness is finding peace with yourself. If your opinion of yourself is healthy you are much better equipped to face whatever challenges the world throws at you. If you have low self-esteem (and many of us do) the first thing you need to realize is that you can’t keep looking to other people to validate your existence. You must get to a place where you like yourself, by yourself, if you’re going to make a relationship a success. If you rely on a partner, or a parent, or a boss for your self image you’re putting a lot of power into the hands of another person.

The way we value ourselves governs the way we treat ourselves, how we judge success and failure, the choices we make, the people we spend time with and how we allow those people to treat us. You have to respect yourself to get respect from others. The road to self-esteem can be a long one and old scars can make the journey seem almost impossible. It took me five years to get to a place where I liked myself again (you can read my story here ). It is worth it.

Once you are in a place where you like yourself and value yourself for who you are you are in a great position to be happy single or in a relationship. You will be better prepared to make a good choice of partner and better equipped to be a good partner. The one person you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with is you, so if you want to be happy for rest of your life, the time to make peace with yourself is now. The resources below can help you get started.

Life can be a roller coaster – the demands and pressures that modern women face can be overwhelming. What is the answer? Where does peace come from?

You can have the peace that you are looking for; there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of woman you want me to be.Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised. He will bring His peace and hope.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

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14 Responses to “Discovering the Joy in Your Life”

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Jonathan – It sounds like you’re going through some really hard times right now. Would you like to talk to a mentor? All you need to do is fill in this form and your mentor will contact you privately by email, usually within a couple of days. It’s a horrible feeling when there’s no one to talk to, maybe a mentor can help?

  • Jonathan Joyce says:

    I need help. I never tought I,d end up this lonely. Its horrible.

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Gs85, you are very right in saying that Jesus is not any ordinary man. He is God and as Barbara said earlier in the comments, He is fully man and fully God, a concept that is very difficult for our finite brains to comprehend. But so amazing to think that He has so much more for us than we could ever even imagine in our own humanness.

  • Gs85 says:

    Jesus is not any ordinary man. He is God. He is the author and give of life, love, intimacy, happiness, family – you name it. He makes us whole and we can enjoy life at a completley different level that many will never discover because they won’t believe in him enough to provided this. I’ve even doubted but I keep crying out for him to help me out and he keeps showing up! He is good and all loving! It was his idead first, we humans took his idea and added our own ideas and as a result we have a distorted view of what true happiness, love, intimacy etc was meant to be.

  • ene says:

    your article is real blessing to me as women we keep finding affirmations frm everybody nd not ourselves may women find true friends frm each other.

  • muhwezi Glorious says:

    good msg but it needs alot of understanding and prayer for clear interpretation. God bless

  • Lisa says:

    Very hard and could not find true love and happiness in earth. Only in my faith in God that I can feel strength, hope, love and joy.

  • BBBarbara Barbara says:

    Jesus was “fully man” and “fully God”. Not 50-50, but 100-100. He understands us completely, not just 50% of us, but 100% of us. Seeking to know, receive and reciprocate His love is the first step to actually understanding love in the fullest sense of the word. The only love we should be seeking is the real kind. His love. But with that said, God does know how we long and need that flesh and blood partner, remember, he was 100% a man (too) so He gets the loneliness of the nights spent alone, none greater than the one He spent in the garden while His friends fell asleep. The point to this is that if we seek Him first, learn from His love first, wait on Him first, allow Him to comfort us because He understands the needs we have, your reward will be to love fully and be loved fully (because you will have learned how to recognize true love) and, therefore, fulfill the desire of your heart.
    And the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” (Gen2:18). Only here is where Adam had to wait and learn, because first the Lord makes all these animals. How long do you think it took God to make every animal? Tic, tic, tic…right? But then, “Then the LORD God formed a woman from the rib that he had taken from the man.” (Gen2:22a) The Lord knew what was missing. He knew elephants were cool, but it didn’t fill what was missing in Adam. Our good Lord then delivers, “He brought her to the man.”(Gen2:22b) the key word being, “brought”. Now Adam is paying attention! Adam sang the first song ever in the bible when he laid his eyes on Eve; Adam was thrilled. “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh…(Gen2:23) God gave him the desire of his heart! Isn’t that worth the wait and instruction from God? It is. It is worth its weight in gold because to love and be loved is our greatest desire. A man who knows what it is to long for a companion then starts singing how beautiful I am when he sees me, puts a smile on my face just thinking about it. God’s word is precise and exactly detailed to give us perfect direction. Follow it, expect it to be fulfilled exactly as is stated and don’t look back. Stay the course, hope in God never disappoints! I love you all and I am praying for you. Your sister in Christ, Barbara

  • Pri says:

    hi..
    all of u write so well…
    am glad am reading..it all finally!!

  • Kanyesigye Joshua says:

    Really good ministry . i was ministered unto.

  • Shamina says:

    The empty spot (void) we all have in our hearts only Jesus can feel. Jesus desires for us to understand his love. His love that is patient, kind, not prideful, selk-seeking, easily angere, keeps no record of wrongs, always protects, hopes, perseveres, and will never fail. God’s love in indescribable! He desires for the world to know and embrace this love. The first step is to accept God’s love and he will show you how to love yourself. Then love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Then we may be able to love others. Happiness is temporary, but joy is everlasting.

  • Josie says:

    I truly agree, Jesus is the greatest in our lives and he is the presence and the touch that can really bring change in our lives. For the past two years despite the fact that I’ve known the Lord for so long I really felt unhappy pretty much about everything in my life; but that struggle helped me understand the true “Love of God” through Jesus Christ.

  • Claire Colvin Claire Colvin says:

    Cat — If Jesus was just another man, then yes, that would be a contradiction. But that is not what’s being said here. Jesus is not just a human being, he’s God and it’s knowing God that changes everything. There’s a great life lesson that it explains it further here.

  • Cat says:

    It goes from “You don’t need a man to be happy” to “Jesus will make you happy!” Am I the only one who sees that as a contradiction?

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