10 Things That Rob You Of Your Joy

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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You might be wondering what joy has to do with being a public speaker? Everything. If you don’t first feel it, you can’t share it. And no matter what your topic, if you can’t bring joy to your audience you are in for a short career.

‘Tis The Season To Be  Jolly

As if we don’t spend enough of our year trying to be something for everybody, and now they tell us we have to be jolly.  Bah-humbug.  Feel like that sometimes? Yeah. Me too.  Telling me to be happy, urging me to be grateful – well, sometimes has the opposite effect.  Not a big fan of people telling me what I should do.  Sometimes I’d rather stay bitter and tired. It’s easier. And whining is way more fun. If somebody will listen, I’ll jump into the complaining pool with both feet.  And I’ll admit it, sometimes dishing about someone else’s shortcomings feels really good. What can I say? I’m shallow that way.  I guess deep down it makes me feel better about myself when I can find a way that you are worse. Makes it kind of hard to be a motivational speaker, where my job is to cheer you up. Because I know the cold hard truth – it can’t be done – at least not by me.  I can only share me, in the hope that somehow in the process you can relate and find your way to your own happier ever after. So happiness – your happiness – is none of my business, or really my concern.  Live life on your own terms and accept the consequences for your lack of joy.

Yes. I said consequences.  Like it or not, your bitterness is costing you. It’s affecting your health, your mental stability, your relationships, and your success.  Stress, by definition, is how you are choosing (hear that? YOU, CHOOSING) to react to whatever circumstance you find yourself in. Stress is in direct correlation to how you see yourself and how you see your world.  And stress will kill you.  It is the root of over 90% of all illnesses. So if you think it’s your sister-in-law who makes you sick, you are wrong. You are who makes you sick.

I’ll pause for you to put my picture up on your wall and throw darts at it. Go ahead. Aim for the muffin top – 50 points.

In case this has got you thinking, and you’ve decided maybe you don’t want to die earlier than you have to, then allow me to share some things that rob me of joy. Why do you care? Because sometimes stepping outside of your own movie and into someone else’s will give you more clarity on yours. And sometimes it just feels good to know that you aren’t the only one out there walking around in a cloud of bitter. Yes, it’s true that misery loves company. Welcome to my living room, make yourself at home.

10 Things That Rob Me of Joy

I’m not going to bother explaining why each of these robs me – they just do. I’ll let you reflect on how and why and whether it applies to you.

  • Trying to do more things than I have time for, with lack of focus and clarity on the kind of life I want to live.
  • Always putting myself last or always putting myself first so that my world becomes selfish.
  • Insisting that things be a certain way – my way – and feeling offended when people choose another path.
  • Trying to reason with unreasonable people or use logic with people who aren’t logical.
  • Believing everything I see, hear, and read and blindly accepting the stories as truth.
  • Letting emotions dictate my decisions by acting based on how I feel instead of what I know to be fact and truth.
  • Making up stories about myself, others, and the situation I am in that cause me to think badly about myself, others, and the situation.
  • Worrying about who likes me and who doesn’t and whether they agree or approve of what I’m doing.
  • Feeling like I’m not good enough and threatened by the success of others, as if it means I am lacking.
  • Getting distracted from the bigger vision of what I believe in, to focus on the distraction and therefore taking my eyes off the prize.

Wow. I could have listed ten more. Lots of meat here.  At first I felt awful for being such a negative joyless person. (Add that to the list:  Beating myself up for my failures.)  But then I realized how freeing this was – to write it down – to face it – to honor it. It occurs to me that this is the first step to LETTING IT GO. You can’t let go if you can’t see what to let go. It’s weird, but I already feel more joyful now that I’ve identified a root cause for the absence of it.

What about you? 

If you feel like you were meant to read this post. If you feel like your joy packed up and moved out a long time ago, and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Then please accept this humble gift from me. Go to www.KellysFreeGift.com and choose the box titled “Motivation” and maybe you will find something in here that will help you find your way back to joy.

Earlier I said I didn’t care how you felt. I lied. I kind of do.

One more thing……for those who are grieving this year – grieving the loss of a loved one. For those grieving over a certain situation. For those with broken hearts. For those who are afraid and anxious. For those who don’t feel safe. For those deep in sorrow.  Throw away this article. Don’t listen to a word I said.  Throw some more darts at my face. Those words above weren’t meant for you.  Do not hear me say that you should be jolly. To everything there is a season. And there is a season to grieve – to mourn – to weep – and to curl up under a blanket and escape from the world for a little while. If this is you, I am whispering comfort and encouragement. I am praying that a blanket of peace will find its way to wrap you up. I am wishing the right people, to come at the right time, with the right words.  And when you are ready to come out of this season, I will be waiting to help you find happy again. One day you will smile again. It just might not be today.

May this holiday season, no matter how you look at it, bring people closer together, rather than further apart.