What does “Look for Joy in the Small Things” Mean?

For the longest time, this statement seemed like a useless tactic. Look for joy in the small things. So you’re telling me to ignore the very issue that is creating a whole shift in perspective around me? Nothing is normal around me, and you expect me to just, look at the flower and think, yeah, because that pretty flower exists, I am probably gonna be okay.

It just seemed pointless to me. I felt like, people who say this, must have not had it really badly if they can just say, look for joy in the small things. But that, in fact, is not the case.

What does it mean to “Look for Joy in the Small Things”?

It means that we need to understand that life has its seasons. When you have storms, you are going to have struggles, and they will come and go, but they will come and go on their own time, not yours.

You will be in the midst of that storm and you will feel that storm.

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Now, I don’t want to say all this to make you lose all hope entirely. I say it to validate what you are going through. It is not easy. If it is not easy to you, it is not easy. That is all that matters. So don’t entirely dismiss that. Don’t dismiss it, don’t compare it, don’t undermine it. It is what it is, and it is what you are experiencing.

It is difficult. Nothing that is new will be easy the first time. Especially when you have to do it alone.

When you ride a bike for the first time, you wont be a speedster. When you draw your first picture, you wont be Picasso, when you play your first instrument, you wont be Mozart at it.

When you deal with a negative experience for the first time, you won’t know the best way to react and deal with it. So it is okay that you are not okay, even if it may seem easy to someone else. This is your moment to figure it out and go through the initial hard moments.

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So first, be forgiving on yourself. It isn’t easy and it won’t be easy for a while to deal with these emotionally draining situations.

Second, don’t think about the big picture. Don’t think about how to solve the overall problem. This may cause anxiety over the long run of what may happen in the future. Stop it. Don’t think about that. Just think about the next best choice you can make for now. The next best choice, the next right step you can think of in your current state.

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Third, this will be a trudging time for you. It may be hard to keep your head up. The end of the tunnel may feel too far. But just find joy in the small things. A laugh with your friends, a beautiful flower that you have never seen before, your dog curling up next to you on a quiet Sunday morning, support of people you love, or maybe a hobby that gives you joy. It can be any of these. But taking time to appreciate the small things that make you happy is like a little less weight on your shoulders.

And I want to make this very clear. I am in no way saying that you need to be grateful for the little things, or you need to be more positive, or you are missing out whats good around you because your so focused on your problems. That would be toxic positivity. Just trying to control your behavior rather than actually getting at the root of the problem and fixing it from the ground up.

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You are allowed to feel sad in the situations you feel sad in. You are allowed to feel like you are struggling, and you are allowed to validate your struggle. But when it gets too heavy, remembering the joy in small things helps you make it to the end of that tunnel. These small “pick me ups” are exactly that. They are ways to pick you back up and give you some small strength to keep going for an unknown amount of time.

Because remember, it is a season. Time will keep going with or without you. People around you will talk with or without you. Life will be unpredictable with or without you. But you can take it step by step, and just like long winding stairs, or a long race, the end of it has to come one way or another, and the season will pass. Your job is to keep those legs moving and do what it takes to keep walking.

You got this.

Check out my podcast “Mentally Okay” or Anchor and Spotify!