I often speak to people who don’t chase their dreams because it feels “selfish” – especially when there are so many obligations and responsibilities to be attended to.
Add to this the virtues of service, generosity, and contribution, and you have the makings of a potentially joyless existence.
Yes of course, being of service, being generous, and making a contribution are what bring us our deepest joy and fulfillment.
But. (And this is a BIG BUT.) If you skip over your own deepest desires and the experiences you need to be fully you – living and expressing the authentic joy in your own heart – the energy of generosity and service actually is coming from a heavier place of obligation, guilt, and duty, which just perpetuates a paradigm of joyless living for all.
Self-care 101 says “put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others” but what is missing is the fine print that specifies that choosing what brings you joy IS the oxygen for your soul.
Joy is what replenishes and rejuvenates you after periods of intense stress or effort.
Joy is what inspires your next endeavor.
Joy is where creative solutions abound and imagination opens new possibilities to old challenges.
When you are really honest with yourself about what brings you JOY – and then GO DO IT – you access a turbo gear of optimal performance within yourself that you simply cannot experience from the hamster wheel of doing what feels “responsible.”
- When you go live YOUR joy, you not only bring yourself to life, you inspire others to live in their joy, too.
- When you dare to value yourself enough to go after the dreams in your heart, all of life mirrors back to you the precious and priceless value that you are, simply as you are.
- When you prioritize your joy, you begin living more mindfully – because you’re more self-aware of what brings you joy and what drains you.
- When you allow more joy to fill your being, you become physically, mentally, emotionally, and energetically more healthy and vibrant — and you discover you have more time for what really matters. (Whaaaa? Crazy time bending hack. Just sayin’…)
- When you choose your joy, you model for the next generation what being a healthy, happy adult really is – instead of showing them a guaranteed path to a very bleak future.
Even I had to remind myself of this on my way to my wing-walking adventure — pushing my limits as I was, into new territories of joy for me. I felt a wave of wondering, “what if this is just an ego trip? What if I should really be doing something more purposeful?” and questioning if it were really *legal* to have this much fun.
Then I remembered that the purpose of life IS to be fully me, whatever that looks like, and that joy is what fuels it all. So… I put on my goggles and said, “Alright, Spirit — show me what the next level of purpose AND joy looks and feels like” — and clambered out onto the wing.
The universe can’t value you until you do.
And 10,000 positive affirmations are not as powerful as DOING the thing that you’ve suppressed, ignored, or dismissed because you feel “selfish”.
Sometimes people encounter spiritual teachings that reinforce the belief that it’s “selfish” to put yourself first – that it’s more virtuous to live a life of service to others. But that belief system is making an enormous assumption – that you have a healthy sense of self-worth and a well-developed capacity to meet your own needs so that your “service” is coming from the overflow of life energy pouring through you — because you’ve taken such fierce care of yourself.
Fuel your body, mind, and spirit by doing more of what brings you joy. And THEN you can discern what’s healthy selfishness and what’s not. You’ll know.
Trust yourself. Dare to go do the thing that brings you joy. And then do it again. Repeat daily. #recipeforajoyfullife