I was at a workshop a few months ago and halfway through the day we were paired up with someone else to do an exercise that was around sharing the essence of the work you do.
I wasn’t feeling great that day so although I shared with my partner about my vision for spreading joy and how I did that, I wasn’t super exuberant or animated or lively.
Afterwards, I felt like I had to justify myself because as the ‘joy lady’ I have this feeling that people expect me to be always bubbly and bouncing around the room. So I said to my partner, I’m sorry, I’m having a low day so I might not seem really joyful right now.
And what she said back to me almost made me cry.
Now, I know that joy is an inside job. I know that it’s a feeling that you cultivate yourself. I know that how you look on the outside and how you behave in public is no indication of how truly happy and joyful you are. Yet, I still have this perception that I should act in a certain way.
I suppose I feel like a bit of a fraud if you can’t obviously tell that I’m over the moon about life.
Which is ridiculous and not what I teach anyway, but like a lot of people, I was caught in that trap of worrying about how other people would perceive me and believing I needed to act in a certain way to give credibility to being the Joy Coach.
But what my partner said to me that day released me from that belief (thank you!).
She said, “Lynn, I don’t need to see you behave in any way because I can feel your essence. Even if you’re having a low day I can still sense the joy coming from inside you. It’s just a gentle joy not a mental joy.”
It was such a loving reminder for me that you just need to be who you are and people will gravitate to you – or not. And that’s perfectly OK.
When we try to be a certain way or create a certain impression, we are actually getting in our own way because we’re trying to control how others see us rather than just BEING.
Being who we are, revelling in who we are and enjoying that experience of openness and authenticity.
You can see the power of it if you just scroll through Facebook. The other day I read a post from a man who shared his journey of alcohol addiction and recovery and he did it because if just one person read the post and sought help it would have been worth it for him. It was authentic and raw and the outpouring of support he got in response – from friends and strangers alike – was incredible.
We crave authenticity and realness. Especially since there is so much in our world that is NOT like that.
So me being real that day in the workshop was incredibly affirming for me and helped me to reconnect with the fact that part of the wisdom that I am here to share is that joy isn’t a certain behaviour or activity or can be measured by things on the outside.
It’s how you feel inside. And the only person who can judge that is you.
I know it sounds simple, and I definitely get that it can be difficult sometimes to create joy, but that really is the goal. Inner joy.
The other thing this beautiful woman reminded me of with her heartfelt response was that you can’t hide your energy and that, in truth, most of us do actually go around FEELING people. And that’s how we make many of our decisions about who to spend our time with, who to work with, who to buy from, etc, by how they feel to us.
So I guess what I wanted to share here is 3 main things:
- Worrying about how other people perceive us can be crippling, can block joy and is a total waste of our energy – we CANNOT control what other people think about us. But we can work on our own energy and how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.
- Authenticity brings such a reward. Every time I take the risk to be real and vulnerable, I not only feel more myself, other people respond to my realness. In our current society full of social media highlight reels, we crave real, and when we FEEL it, it softens us and we often respond with compassion, kindness, care and love.
- Joy is a deeply personal feeling experience. It can be quiet, it can be exuberant. It can be calm energy, it can be high energy. It can be gentle or it can be mental. It’s how you choose to relate and experience it for yourself. So don’t judge yourself for how you experience it (if you’re a gentle joy person like me, fab, if you’re a mental joy type, rock that experience!)
Wherever you are in your joy journey, my wish is that you give yourself permission to experience the world YOUR way. Which means having the courage to share your truth, working toward loving yourself even more every day, and keeping your eyes focused on the only person who’s opinion of you matters – YOU.