written by Princess R. Lakshman
You may be familiar with this common adage “Pursuit of Happiness”. I’ve always wondered why it is that we must pursue happiness. I used to be one of those people who worked really hard at pursuing happiness. One wonderful day I realised that as ALLAH’s highest form of creation I was blessed with an inherent, pure thing known as JOY.
Once I realised this, I embraced joy and began to live from it. I stopped pursuing happiness. It sounds bizarre.
Difference Between Joy and Happiness
The English dictionary may display both these terms as synonyms, however, society has designed a paradigm for human beings which defines happiness as something that results from the fulfilment of material and physical desires. In other words, happiness, in today’s world, is circumstantial.
Joy, on the other hand, is something that we feel as our “fitra” and is not defined by physical and material desires. Joy is the elation we feel when we operate from our inherent spiritual virtues of kindness and compassion.
Once you operate from joy, the pressures that society places on you vanishes – the must-have-perfect-marriage, the six-figure salary, the mansion, the perfect body shape – none of these material and physical desires will matter anymore.
Living from joy makes you a joyful being and spreads joy to the rest of the world. Instead of striving for a “perfect marriage”, ask yourself if you and your spouse share a soulful companionship wherein you can be in each other’s company without having the need to distract yourself with gadgets and awkward silences. Instead of the six-figure salary, ask yourself if you love what you do for work. Instead of the mansion, ask yourself if your home is a space that is spiritually fulfilling. Instead of obsessing over a perfect body shape, ask yourself if you are using your body and its energy to spread goodness and perform righteous deeds.
How to Cultivate Joy in Your Life
Living authentically and being true to yourself helps you to be true to others. “Fake it till you make it” may not be the most authentic approach to living joyfully. Rather, a daily practice of experiencing joy in small things can make every moment of your life be a joyful experience.
- Smile more
- Laugh out loud
- Write a heartfelt note to someone special to thank them for being in your life (handwrite it, it’s more personal)
- Breathe deep full in-breaths and exhale slowly
- Do a fun activity that moves your body and makes you sweat
- Spend a few minutes daily to connect with nature
- Say out loud to yourself – five things about yourself that you are grateful for
- Do something nice for someone without their knowledge
- Cook a wholesome meal for yourself and your family
- Hug your loved ones often and tell them you love them
- Perform an act of kindness for a stranger
- Visualise yourself in Jannah
If you feel confused about whether you are pursuing material and physical happiness or whether you are living joyfully, the one question you need to ask yourself is “Is what I’m pursuing pleasing ALLAH or pleasing people?”
Choose to please ALLAH and ONLY ALLAH. Do what feels right. Listen to your heart…it knows. When you please people, you fall in the trap of material and physical desires…temporary happiness. But when you choose to please ALLAH you experience joy.
Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.
For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters
Photo credit – pexel.com