Yesterday, I heard two people both say, “it is what it is.” Both are people I care for and each is struggling with a situation in which they have little to no power.

I hate the phrase, “It is, what it is.”

I think it’s accurate, but I really don’t like to hear it or say it. I probably don’t like it because it highlights an area in which I have little to no power/control and I have some accepting (and probably some self care) to do.

What does that have to do with joy?

Joy is a choice (more on that later) so we have to get pretty good at accepting all sorts of things we don’t like or have much control over in order to make a joy a reality. It’s annoying, I know, but the more we fight soemthing that we can’t change, the longer we spend in the problem instead of the solution.

One of the things that trips me up and I know I’m not alone in this, is thinking that I can or should be able to impact the outcome of certain situations. I have said it before but it bares repeating, anytime you hear yourself outloud or even just in your head say the word “should,” you are probalby shitting on yourself.

Does this sound familiar?

“I should have gotten more done at work today.”

“I should lose __ lbs.”

“I should call my mother more often.”

Anytime you ‘should on yourself’ I encourage you to ask yourself why? Or says who? Would doing those things really make you happier or a better person? Or are those things you tell yourself to stay small and stuck? Part of being joyful is shedding as many unhealthy and unhelpful beliefs as possible.

Acceptance sounds so much easier than it actually is to put into action.

Acceptance has nothing to do with liking what is going on and everything to do with removing self blame/shame. When we say things like, “I should do X,” it is typically b/c we think it will give us control over something that is completely out of our control.

For example, I used to (and still sometimes do) get upset when people would be really late in my personal life. As a kid, I was given messages about what the tardiness of others meant. But as an adult what it turned into was, ‘if they aren’t on time it’s because they don’t respect me.’ While that may or may not be true (each situation is different), holding on to that belief caused me more stress than it was worth.

I can’t force someone to be on time but I can accept that it probably has nothing to do with me. And that feels soooo much easier.

What about joy?

There are a couple of definitions for joy but these are the two I like best:

  1.  a source of cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated:
  2. a state of happiness or felicity.

What if I said that that joy is possible when you clear the cobwebs of self doubt, blame and shame?  What if the only thing standing between you and joy is… you?

Something else I heard yesterday:

Everything is as it is.

I don’t know why but I like that better.  Maybe because I haven’t heard it a zillion times already or maybe because it represents that tiny shift we all need to feel closer to gratitude and appreciation.

Last week I went to a seminar on the art of tidying up.  While I was there, one of the lecturers said, ‘they way we treat our things is how we treat ourselves.’  I realized on the first day that the entire thing is about being grateful for what you have and being your authentic self.  Could there be anything more joyful than the strength, courage and permission to be your authentic self?

I think joy is less about being happy every second of the day and more about being grateful and authentic.  I can’t be both of those things if I am mired down in nasty thoughts about myself and others.

What do you think about acceptance?  Are there things in your life that you are struggling to accept and move through?  As always, I’m here and would love to hear from you.

What is JOY and Why do I Need it?