For the Grown-Ups
Your Joy Is Your Compass. (And a Way to Love Yourself!)

Your Joy Is Your Compass. (And a Way to Love Yourself!)

This is the second of my Love Notes to you in which I share the things I wish I had known when my kiddos were little and I was a young mom. If you're ready for some Big Sister hand-holding and a little advice, I'm here for you.

The message: your joy is invaluable. In fact, it's your compass.

It's tempting to set it aside. It's tempting to postpone joy in the name of "getting things done" or "pulling it together" or "keeping the bus rolling." Moms and empathic beings can feel the pull of others' needs before our own. We can go deaf to our own desires, delights, needs, and wants. And if you're like me — a tad Type A, wanting everything to feel in line and under control first — there's never enough time for a little something pleasurable.

Learn to listen to the percolation of joy, and learn to act on it. Whether it's as simple as needing to have a moment with no one touching you, or twelve to fifteen hugs a day, or as big as a full day off (or a WEEK) to do whatever you want — listen. Honor. Follow.

Our joy is our inner selves calling to us: "go here, do this, follow that, engage here!" And if you're like me and believe we're a part of a greater Divine, then that little invitation to joy? That's actually the Divine talking right through you. That's the path to the fullest life, the one with the most depth that calls forward the fullest expression of you. And that's what we're here for. To be our fullest selves.

Note: I sometimes think the truest "joy calls" aren't always typical or comfortable, and I wonder if the standard "self care" choices that are in the current conversation — pedicures and facials and baths and dark chocolate and a little online eco-shopping moment — is a pacifier for the deeper calls. I think the "self-improvement" impulses can get mixed up in there. I find I can get a bit of false joy in imagining myself getting stronger, leaner, and calmer, though I do value building lean muscle, moving my body, eating well, and having a meditation practice. Sometimes it's really a push to make myself different so I can finally be happy.

I believe it's really about listening to joy NOW, following the call NOW. - Get the ping to stop everything and go outside in the rain? Do it, and stay out there until you feel complete. - Crave an experience of yourself in a different language, find a space or platform and do it. (Three minutes a day of Duolingo can be a ball.) - Want to make something, but don't know what? Pull out whatever craft supplies you have on hand and start. Put pen to paper and write whatever words come, or draw the crayon or paint brush across the canvas. Tie flowers or branches together. What happens? - Feel the need to be alone? There's always a closet and a few minutes to sit and breathe. It's like building a muscle of little joys that call you to bigger ones, with your own curiosity about joy driving the bus.

If you have young children and are balancing working and running a home, it can feel like an impossibility. Your inner protective side might tell you it's indulgent, or unfair, or insane: who does THAT?

But listen to me: the world wants you to be joyful. It needs you to. Your joy — your fullness — is the greatest gift. Your joy radiates out and not only brightens, but softens the people around you.

Plus your kids need you to know joy too because — and here's a biggie — you're modeling the importance of their own joy. And people who are joyful are also often what? Alive. Caring. Generous. Kind.

This is the way we change the world. And you know what? It starts with you and your own inside job at allowing joy. So get to it.

Big love from your Big Sis at Sparkle HQ,


PS: one of my original "follow your joy" teachers is Martha Beck. I recommend her book Finding Your Own North Star.

About the Author

Lisabeth Sewell

Doer of Many Wonderful and Odd Things (including CEO)

Lisabeth Sewell has worn many hats at Sparkle over the years, from Sparkle Kitchen Blogger to Editorial Director to Doer of All Odd Jobs. Her primary role is as CEO.

Get our Newsletter

Sign up to receive weekly email updates with new stories, Sparkle news, and seasonal activities!

Stay Connected

Download on the Apple App StoreDownload on the Google Play
©2024 Sparkle Stories. All rights reserved.