This is the time of year when we often hear a lot about joy…’tis the season to be joyful, joy to the world…let your heart be joyful…I know for myself, when I am busy getting ready for the holidays and concentrating on my “to do” list…thinking about being joyful is not on my conscious list of things to do.
What actually is the meaning of joy? The definition of joy refers to “an intense and especially ecstatic or exultant happiness…the expression or manifestation of such feeling…a source or an object of pleasure or satisfaction”. What is your definition of joy…for yourself, for your family?
Brene Brown, Ph.D., L.M.S.W. refers to “joy and meaning” in her book “The Gifts of Imperfection”. Brene and her family looked at when things were going well for their family, what was going on that helped to foster that. They then created their “Joy and Meaning List” based on things that help their family work well. Some items they included were having time with family and friends, healthy eating, being fully present with each other, having meaningful work, and having time off.
How often do we stop to think about what makes our family work well? Have you ever felt that everything is going really well and then life begins to fall apart? When this occurs, we tend to focus on the negative and long for better times. Maybe your kids begin to act out or you and your partner have less patience with each other? It is so easy to get stuck in this downward spiral, especially during the frenzied holiday season. When all of the “to do” lists are running through our minds, we often lose sight of what’s really important for ourselves and our family.
Perhaps the busy holiday season is the best time to reflect on what makes your family work well. What brings your family peace and joy…not only during the holiday season but also throughout the year? Taking time to be mindful about creating joy and meaning for your family is a gift that will be everlasting…long after the holiday gifts have been unwrapped and the busyness of life takes hold. Take time during this season to give a gift to each other and create your “Joy and Meaning List.”
Reflect on times when you felt that your family was working well? As you identify what worked, you can begin your own list…get the whole family involved. Display your list as a reminder of the items needed for your family’s joy and meaning.
I invite you to begin this holiday season by creating your list.
What do you need to create joy and meaning?