Finding joy from within

When was the last time you did something for pure enjoyment? Did something you love, something that lights you up, even if it seems “meaningless” or like a “waste of time” to someone else? When was the last time you didn’t do something because you told yourself it’s selfish or you have enough time to yourself you don’t need more. Yeah, me too.

We tell ourselves these stories as to why we don’t deserve self love and appreciation, we don’t deserve more time to ourselves for pure enjoyment, I started to wonder why do some people live simple lives and have abundance joy and a positive attitude and other people are wildly successful in terms on things and career but aren’t truly happy. Its goes without saying there’s a lot of factors that affect this, however I want to make you aware of the energy of it all, where is that joy or discontentment truly coming from?

I was part of an organization for a few years that taught people not to get good at “things that don’t matter”, I remember hearing that for the first time and feeling conflicted.
I don’t think they meant don’t have fun or do things you enjoy, but I do think the concept of not getting good at things that don’t matter is FALSE.

In the book high performance habits Brendon Burchard talks about how important it is to have hobbies and things we master in life, that the highest and happiest performers always had something they worked to master, like the piano or painting. Now these are high level executives and very successful people, they aren’t mastering piano because they want to be a concert pianist or make money, they are doing it because it activated a part of them, a creative side, a focused side and a place of personal achievement, it made them feel good about themselves and more importantly made them feel good about themselves without any kind of “reward” at the end.

I was part of an organization for a few years that taught people not to get good at “things that don’t matter”, I remember hearing that for the first time and feeling conflicted. I don’t think they meant don’t have fun or do things you enjoy, but I do think the concept of not getting good at things that don’t matter is FALSE. In the book high performance habits Brendon Burchard talks about how important it is to have hobbies and things we master in life, that the highest and happiest performers always had something they worked to master, like the piano or painting. Now these are high level executives and very successful people, they aren’t mastering piano because they want to be a concert pianist or make money, they are doing it because it activated a part of them, a creative side, a focused side and a place of personal achievement, it made them feel good about themselves and more importantly made them feel good about themselves without any kind of “reward” at the end. 

We all have different passions and dreams in our lives, noting that passion specifically meaning things that energize you. For instance, doing hot yoga and hot Pilates energizes me, it lights me up because I love physical expression and movement (and sweat too), my husband on the other hand would probably rather pluck his arm hairs out one by one than have to workout in a hot room for an hour, heck he wouldn’t want to stand in a hot room for an hour! On the other side of the coin when was the last time you did something because you thought its what you “should do” or someone you respect tells you something is a good idea so you do it even though it doesn’t quite feel right or maybe you really just don’t want to?

 In phycology they call this Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation otherwise put motivation from an internal place vs. motivation from an external place. Intrinsic motivation is performing an activity or action solely because it brings YOU joy, it comes from an internal desire and brings you a sense of satisfaction. I also call this self-love. In high performance habits Brendon Burchard actually said in one study they did that the top 15% of high performers spent at least 60minutes more on self love and intrinsically motivated activities then that of the rest of the group of high performers. Keep in mind that these are activities you do for you, not because you have to, not because you get money or prizes for it, just because you want to. When I first started journaling it didn’t make me feel better, therapists and people I trusted all told me to journal to release anxiety and tension and for the first 6 months or so it didn’t do a whole lot for me. This is NOT self-love or intrinsic motivation because it didn’t actually make me feel better. When I started committing to taking Hot Pilates 3 times a week, no exception it made me feel better, more in control, this is self love and came from a place of internal motivation because that hour was moving meditation for me. I love journaling now, but in the beginning it wasn’t done from a place of self-love.

That is what is referred to as extrinsic motivation, which is when we act because we think its “the right thing to do” its often driven by fear or lack of trusting your gut, in many cases you do something because a boss or mentor tells you they think it’ll be beneficial but you don’t actually want to do that. When I was 17 I can remember having this feeling like I was supposed to go to college, it was the right thing to do after all and if I didn’t go that obviously meant I would work a dead end job and be a loser for the rest of my life, Which I can proudly say didn’t happen because going to college doesn’t actually measure how successful you are going to be in the future but  at the time that’s how I felt, so the whole process of applying and my whole junior year I was sick and depressed because I was moving forward in my life based of fear of failure and was going to do something just because that’s what people told me I should do. Is college beneficial, of course, would it have been beneficial for me? Probably not because I didn’t want to go, it wasn’t my path. These little moments and little choices are happening in our lives all day everyday. 

If you read this and remember one thing, I hope its that you’re life is supposed to feel good to you and you are supposed to live in abundance and joy, yet so many people are walking around complaining and scared and just plan unhappy because they aren’t listening to their internal guidance system, they aren’t making decisions based off an intrinsic motivation but a extrinsic one, when you look outside yourself for the answers you are SO unlikely to find them. I’m not saying there aren’t things in your life you have to do, there will always be things you don’t want to do or have to do but if you feel like your just going through the motions or life has lost its zest, check in with yourself, are you taking time for you? 

I talked to a student once who was working as an accountant even though she hated it but you know, it “pays the bills” and “its what I went to school for”, she is staying in a job, trading her life doing something she doesn’t enjoy but also NOT doing the things she does enjoy, when I asked her what she would do instead she told me she wants to do work with charities and volunteer and actually make a difference which is beautiful! But instead of doing both or finding a way to do what sets her soul on fire, she just talks about how one day she will change. Will she ever actually do it? I hope so, but chances are slim, she may be happy but not as happy as she could be if she listened to her passions, the things that excite you were put into your heart for a reason. 

Listen to me right now, it is not selfish to do things just because you enjoy them, it’s actually what life is all about. Sacrifice is very real, hard work is very real, but you are trading your life every time you make a choice. If you aren’t internally satisfied this leads to depression, anxiety, a quiet life of desperation because no matter how good your life looks, if you aren’t internally satisfied none of it matters because you wont feel good, which leads to stress, illness and dis-ease in the body. The reason I feel so passionately about this subject is because I have lived the last close to 10 years of my life in a state of extrinsic motivation because I didn’t love myself, I didn’t trust myself to make the right choice and because of the fact that my dreams are freaking HUGE and I want to live an abundant free life, I took action out of fear of not moving forward, I have been depressed for 10 years you guys, sad and hurting and lonely because I wasn’t speaking my truth, if this is resonating with you please, please, please ask yourself what do I want? What do YOU want?!! Write down how you want to live and the person you want to be and no matter where you are on this journey, 15, 25, 40, 55, 67 it doesn’t matter you can live out your best most fruitful life when you start trusting that little gut feeling, trusting that you are being guided and if you can trust, tune in and listen to that voice, you will invariable make your dreams a reality all while living an abundant and joyful experience. 

There is great love for you here.

~KW


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