Friday, November 14, 2014

A gratitude-joy connection

Is there a difference between happiness and joy? Sometimes in my blogs I use the terms interchangeably. But technically, I believe there is a difference.

In her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brene Brown says that she interviewed many people in research she did and many told her that "Being grateful and joyful doesn't mean that I'm happy all of the time." When she asked them to say more, she got similar answers that she described as, "Happiness is tied to circumstance and joyfulness is tied to spirit and gratitude."

That resonates with me. When good things happen in my life, I am really happy. It's sort of giggles, bubbles and sunshine time. However, when things become difficult and I am really challenged by the events in my life, I can still feel a deep-down joy—a sense that, ultimately, things will come right again. That's more of a kernel of hope, of a tiny light shining amid the darkness. It is different.

So how do we get to that place of deep joy? I do believe it's in our attitude—and it starts with gratitude. If I can receive what's given me and find something in it for which to be grateful, I will create a reservoir of joy that will build and carry me through the tough times. I will also notice so much more in my life for which to be grateful. It's about awareness and attitude. Perhaps it sounds overly simplistic. It isn't, however.

What do you think? Do you see a connection between joy and gratitude? Can you find joy amid the dark times?

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