I’m not always joyful when I wake up but as soon as I remember that I did wake up, I’m quite thankful. It contributes to my peace and sets my day right.  I am an optimist who believes in being grateful, thankful and having Every Day Joy. I’m thankful I can breathe and walk. Thankful that the coffeemaker worked. Thankful that I am loved and my basic human needs are met and exceeded daily. I learned long ago that troubles come and go but adversity doesn’t stay forever. As you go through your day, you never know what someone is dealing with if you don’t know them (and even if you do). That said, I think we can all be a bit kinder to ourselves and definitely to strangers. Doesn’t the bible say we’ve all “entertained angels unaware?” I don’t know about you but I’ll talk to pretty much anyone who’s friendly to me because I am mindful that I don’t know who I’m speaking with. If I make a mistake and engage with someone who I don’t want to speak with, I can always fake a cell phone call (it was on vibrate) or an, “Oh wow! Look at the time!” *looks at naked wrist*

Debbie Downer

I’m of the mind that you shouldn’t work with people if you don’t like them. I’m an introvert, meaning I’m not super social with people I don’t know, however that doesn’t mean I don’t like people. I worked in customer service for many years and always did my best to help in a courteous, friendly manner. IMO, there is never a reason to be unpleasant. I don’t know how your day is going and maybe you’re genuinely a joyful person outside of your job but you know what? I seriously doubt it when your negative energy is pulsating around you, forming a large black maw which threatens to devour any joy or happiness it can find. I’m a huge Stephen King fan. If you don’t really like interacting with people, why do it? Because “it’s a job?” Wrong. If you don’t like what you do or helping people, how about you, say, move your desk to a closet with no window? Somewhere you can’t spread your yuck to coworkers and customers.

Ain’t Stealing My Joy

You’ve heard the phrase”stealing your joy,” right? Well, Ol’ Sad Sack threatened to steal my joy in our meeting. Kill it dead. I wished I could ignore it but as I mentioned here, I am very empathetic. At our first meeting I thought she was possibly having a rough day but when it happened again, I knew she was chronically miserable. If someone exudes a positive vibe or is really excited about something, I think it’s contagious. When I spoke with genuine enthusiasm, she focused on pointing out negative possibilities. I thought of the same pitfalls but I chose to focus on the up side. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to leave her presence. I literally bolted from the room, anxious to put as much distance between me and that energy as possible. I was OUT. PEACE. I’ll lift a prayer for such people but I am not here for it. I also learned to be aware of those who project their [negative] feelings. I once worked with someone who would say things like, “You look like you’re upset.” Um. That’s my face. I wasn’t so I figured they were projecting and I’d reply with, “I’m good – are you upset?” and they’d stop asking for a while. Keep your CraZy off me, yo.

Authentic Living

I always wonder why people are the way they are so I thought… maybe she’s just angry, sad or disappointed with her life. Like something in her had shriveled. I see that happen when people seem to hate their jobs or, their lives. The sad thing about her was she was (or had been) an attractive woman. Whatever was causing her not to be happy aged her. I can’t speak on her life because I don’t know her but the only time I saw her display anything close to happy was when I asked about the grandchildren in the photos on her desk. Another time I think she tried to make a joke and smile. I just stared at her, wide-eyed and horrified, half-expecting a swarm of angry bees to fly out of her mouth. More Stephen King. What was that…a sm-sm-mile? Maybe she settled for something because she thought she HAD to and was suffering the consequences (rather I was suffering the consequences). As an adult, that’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Compromise. Can’t have things go your way, be mature and responsible and do what you’re supposed to even if it drains the very life from you. While there are normal paths society says we should take (get good grades, go to college, get a job, get married, buy a home, have kids, work hard and save, retire and die) how many people lose Every Day Joy trying to force their lives onto a path defined by others? I am thankful I have been called to live a courageous life off the path.

Living authentically requires faith and faith requires struggle. Imagine if we had unending courage and faith to commit to an authentic, spirit-led journey?

The Lesson

What I learned from my encounters with this person (and others like them) is that genuine peace and joy are gifts from God and fruits of the spirit, therefore you have to stay prayed up. I ask God for a “hedge of protection” to keep me safe around people and situations that threaten to disturb me and my joy. Do I get bothered at times? Surely. That’s more about me than Him. When you are truly empathetic, it’s difficult to avoid absorbing the miserable feelings of another. Some people constantly look for those who will sympathize, not empathize (Thanks, Dr. Brené Brown) with them. Know the difference. Some people just don’t want happiness and seek to destroy it for anyone they think has it. I know it’s not always possible to avoid them and it’s better to learn how to shield yourself because unfortunately, they are everywhere. Lastly, even with a positive attitude, I know I am human and can still feel run-over and down so I do little things every day that make me happy. I just thank God for allowing me to enjoy living my authentic self while remaining open to let His light shine through me and keeping a grateful heart. That’s how I maintain my Every Day Joy.