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Finding Joy in the Middle of Hard Circumstances

When life gets hard, it’s difficult to find any joy in it. I see more and more people going through very difficult circumstances, and I don’t see them getting any easier, so let’s figure out how to have joy in the middle of those hard things. You don’t need to wait to find joy, you can feel it right now, no matter what. Tune into this episode to learn the 8 pillars of joy and how to cultivate those in your life.

Episode #009 – Allowing Yourself to Grieve

Episode #024 – The Importance of Gratitude

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The Book of Joy

Podcast Transcript

You’re listening to parenting through the day to Our Podcast, episode 28. finding joy in the middle of really difficult circumstances.

Howard W Hunter said, Your detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow way back to him. And we know that men and women are that they might have joy. But when you get taken on a parenting detour, it feels like joy is something that other people get to feel. But not you doesn’t have to be this way. Join me on this podcast. And let’s find some joy through your detours. And I’ll give you some help along the way. I’m your host, Tina Gosney. And I’m a life and relationship coach, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Hey, it is almost Christmas only a couple days away? Are you ready for Christmas? Do you ever feel ready for Christmas? I think these last few days before Christmas are some of my favorite. Because I just like everything is set and it’s ready. And I could just kind of really focus on like immediate family and traditions that we like to do. So I enjoy the last few days before Christmas, I hope you do too.

And if you don’t have a Christmas present yet, for someone and you’re looking for a special present, consider giving them a ticket to my workshop that begins in January. It’s called the relationship reset workshop. It is for people who need some more relationship tools who are struggling and trying to repair or strengthen or just find connection in a relationship. And really, even if you’re not having trouble in a relationship, you’re going to find some value in this. So if you’re looking for a present for someone, you’re like, I just don’t know what to get that person, consider giving them a ticket to this workshop. Right now there is a $70 discount. So it brings the price down to $129. And it is four weeks, it’s an hour each week combined of teaching and Q&A and coaching. And it’s going to be an awesome workshop. So it begins January 13. It’s on sale right now through the December 25. And you will find a link to that workshop in the show notes. So go visit the show notes and you’ll find a link to the workshop. And the discount code.

I heard this quote about a year ago, I would bet maybe a little over a year ago by Tony Robbins. And you know, sometimes there are quotes and things that you hear that just really stick with you. And sometimes they don’t. But this is one that really stuck with me. And it really stuck with me. And I thought this is perfect for this podcast. And he said, and I’m probably not getting it totally 100% correctly. But this is what he said, was happiness is found in the mind. Pleasure is found in the body, but joy is experienced in the soul. And I thought, Oh, that is a powerful quote.

And my understanding of what the soul is, the soul of a man or a woman is made up of the combination of the body and the spirit. And I know the spirits desire is to connect with God is to grow and to develop and connect with God in a very intimate and personal way. And to live into its divine nature. And I believe one of the spirits desires also is to have control over the physical body. And I think that’s why when we don’t have control over a lot of the things that our physical body wants us to do, that we experience a lot of shame and guilt around those things.

And, you know, considering this, that our spirits desire really is to connect with God and to grow. And that we read in the Scriptures that the natural man is an enemy to God. I think one way that the natural man shows up in a really significant way that the natural man shows up is in the way that we think and in the way that we view our life’s circumstances.

When we allow How our thoughts to go unchecked, when we allow our thought patterns that are there that we experience in our brain. And we don’t question those, it leads us to places where our thoughts can go crazy. And that leads us to have all sorts of negative emotions. And those negative emotions are there because we have a built in negativity bias in our brains. So it makes sense that our thoughts would lead us to have negative emotions. But those negative emotions lead us to do things that do not create harmony with those around us, or with God. So I believe that’s one of the very significant ways that the natural man shows up. And that the spirit is trying to gain control over that natural man.

But when we realize that we have this negativity bias, and that we’re actually going to think and focus on negative things, and that’s the way our brain wants to go. And that leads us to negative emotions. When we realize that that is happening, we could actually take steps to gain more control over it, but we first have to know that it’s there. If we don’t know that it’s there, we’re just going to live into it and let our brains go crazy. So happiness is found in the mind.

This is part of that quote, that Tony Robbins, by the way, I really think Tony Robbins has some great things to say I really like a lot of his work. And he says that happiness is found in the mind. And I really think there’s a lot to that. Because researchers have found that about 50% of our happiness is determined by factors like our DNA, and our temperament. Basically, our setpoint. So have you if you know anything about setpoint, it’s usually referred to in like, a body weight reference in that, like our bodies have a certain weight that they like to be. And it’s going to revert back to that. And it’s hard to get it to go away from this point.

So the same thing goes for our minds, our minds will hold on to a set point for our ability to be happy. Now, that comes from just our genetic makeup, and the way that we came to this earth, right? So what do you think your happiness set point is? If you were going to give it a percentage, what would it be? My happiness set point I used to think was pretty low. Meaning I considered myself not to be a pessimist or an optimist. I used to call myself a realist, I would say I just see things as they really are not put trying to put a negative or a positive spin on things. But what’s the problem with that friends? Reality is in the eye of the beholder. So how could I be a realist, I was only seeing things real, according to my own perception of them.

The only reality that exists is in our own minds. So I was creating the positive or negative experiences I was having with my own thoughts about the circumstances. And I saw people who seem to be happy and positive no matter what and it was, those people were just a mystery to me. And I just think I used to just think I don’t have that gene, I just didn’t come that way. I was not blessed with it. So I allowed my setpoint to be pretty low. But I have reset my setpoint because I know that my brain is offering me negative thoughts and seeing reality in the way that it wants to see it. And I know that it’s not always true. And I’ve allowed my setpoint to be reset. But what is your set point for happiness? What do you believe about yourself, and the way that you are genetically made, that creates that setpoint.

The other 50% is determined by a combination of our circumstances, which we have a limited control over circumstances are usually things that exist outside of us that we don’t have control over. That 50% is also factoring in our attitude, and our actions. And we have a great deal of control over this our attitudes and our actions. And this is really what Tony Robbins is talking about. He’s really saying like we have control over our attitude, our thoughts, the things that we either create happiness, or unhappiness in our lives are our thoughts. And we give a lot of how we think, feel and do over to the circumstances of our lives, which we have very little control over. So we tend to think like, Well, unless you won, like, you know, life’s circumstances lottery, you don’t have the option of being happy, or you’re just kind of doomed to be unhappy most of the time. And we think, also think things like, well, if my life was like their life, and will point to someone, maybe that lives down the street, then I could be happy too. But this is not true. It does not matter what your circumstances are, you have the option of finding happiness and joy in your life.

Now, I’m going to give you eight pillars of joy. And these are taken from my favorite book for the year, which I’ve talked about before. And it’s called the Book of joy. It’s a New York Times bestseller. It’s written by the Dalai Lama, and the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both of whom, by the way, have experienced very difficult circumstances in their lives. But they wrote, they got together and they wrote this book of joy, and I’m going to share with you the eight pillars of joy. And if you can begin to find these things in your heart and in your mind, you will begin to experience more joy in your life. But if you are in a really negative mental space right now, what I’m going to tell you might sound a little ridiculous to apply these pillars into your life. But it that it doesn’t mean that it can’t change, it just means you haven’t developed mental immunity, like the ability to to avoid destructive emotions and develop positive ones.

Mental immunity is the ability to direct your mind on purpose. And to experience your life on a purposeful, intentional way, no matter what is happening. It doesn’t mean that you put a silver lining on everything, or fill your day with positive affirmations. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t acknowledge that things can be hard, or that circumstances are not as you would like them to be. But what it does mean what mental immunity means is that you take your life circumstances, along with the emotions that come from them.

And that you realize that you have the ability to frame those circumstances in whatever way you want to. So you can find a reason to be stressed, or anxious or fearful. And you can find a reason to look for a blessing and everything that happens, even if it is a circumstance you would rather not have in your life. Even if you say, if I could I would choose differently, but I can’t. So how do I want to view this. And it means that when circumstances come that you would rather not have in your life, that you don’t let them break you that you know, you can handle the emotions that come from them. And you don’t have to push those negative emotions away, or sit and wallow in them and let them overtake you either. It means you know what to do with those emotions, and they are not your enemy.

And when you hear these pillars of joy, you might say to yourself, Well, that makes perfect sense. And I already do those things. But if you’re already doing these things, and you aren’t feeling joy, consider that there are blind spots that you can’t see and that are hiding and that you might need help to find joy in your life. And I can help you find those blind spots and challenge those places in your life that are keeping you from finding joy. Now I don’t have any open spots for one on one clients right now. But you can set up a consultation with me and get on a waitlist. And I will have openings coming late January or February. But get on that waitlist now because you will want to reserve your spot for working with me one on one. Especially if you’re finding any resistance to what I’m about to tell you with the eight pillars of joy then we have some work to do together.

Okay, are you ready? These are great qualities. These first four are qualities of the mind. These are really going to come in the way that you are seeing your life the lens you are looking at your life through. The first one is perspective. And perspective comes from the thoughts the feelings, the the actions, you know, that is a result of this, of the perspective that we look at our life through the way that we see the world defines the way that we experience the world. And within our mind, within our own mind, we create our own world, what happens to you doesn’t matter nearly as much as how you see what happens to you the perspective of your own life and the people in it is within your power, you get to view it however you want to.

And once you realize this, you gain a lot of power in your own life, it will begin to feel like you have moved into the driver’s seat of your own life, and that you’re not being tossed and turned and thrown around by whatever life wants to give you. Perspective is huge. And perspective comes from the lens that you look at your life through, that is the first quality of the mind, and the first of the eight pillars of joy. The next one is humility, and in humility, when should I realize that we are all children of God, and that he has a purpose for all of us? No one is a divine accident. And no one can fill your role in this world, we all need each other. And all of us have the right to our own hopes and dreams. And this ties into how we view other people as well as ourselves.

How you view yourself will be reflected in how you view other people. So if you are harsh on yourself, you tend to be very harsh on other people. And I have mentioned this to several people and have them immediately want to contradict me and say, Oh, no, I’m way harder on myself, then I am on others. But what they didn’t hear was the 10 minutes before that when they were complaining about this kind of people or that kind of people and how these kinds of people should be different. So they’re limiting their view of how they’re really perceiving other people. And they’re limiting the love that they have for others by requiring them to be different in order to be worthy of their love.

So realize that if you’re hard on yourself, if you have contention within yourself, that contention will spill out into the world in one way or another. And a big way that it comes out in is how we treat other people and how you view other people. But really, no matter what another person’s choices are or what your choices are. We all belong to the human family. And we are all children if God worthy of love and belonging. And when we view our relationships in this way. It allows us to have more understanding and compassion for where other people are in their own journey. Humility, you are not above anyone else. No one else is above you. We are all worthy of love and belonging in this world, all children of God. That’s the second one, the quality of the mind.

The third one is humor. Because life can get really heavy sometimes and we need to lighten it up. And finding humor and laughing with another person is sometimes the easiest way to connect and find shared ground. Can you laugh? Even when it’s the last thing you feel like doing? Can you do it when life feels really heavy? Humor is really important. The root word for humor and humility and humanity is humus, the lowly and sustaining Earth is the root for all three of these words. Humility and humor will remind us of our shared humanity and it will help to ground us.

The fourth quality of the mind is acceptance. Now, acceptance does not mean resignation or defeat. That’s not what it means. Archbishop Desmond Tutu said, “We are meant to live in joy. This does not mean that life will be easy or painless. It means that we can turn our faces to the wind and accept that this is the storm we must pass through. We cannot succeed by denying what exists. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin.”

When you look at acceptance, acceptance actually helps us move from asking ourselves things like how do I change this to how can I use this as something positive? Because by not accepting life as it is, we will never be able The process the emotions that we find ourselves in. And some of those might just be frustration, anger, resentment and blame. Those will always be present until we can accept where we are and make peace with it. In a parenting sense, you might be saying, “Why do I want to accept where this child is, I know that this child of mine has so much more potential than they are living into right now. Why would I accept it? How are they going to move forward from that?” It’s okay to think that, that you also can think it’s okay, where they are right now. There’s a purpose in it, they will learn from where they are just like I’m learning from where I am. And it’s all okay. Until you can say that you’re going to be stuck in trying to change things that you have no control over, you’re going to be stuck in emotions that are not helping you to move forward and find answers and actually help your child. And this doesn’t mean acceptance doesn’t mean that you don’t experience important emotions, like sadness and grief. It just means you let yourself move through them in a healthy way, and you don’t get stuck spinning in them. And if you’re wondering more about this, I want you to go listen to episode nine, allowing yourself to grieve, you can get some more help on this. And you can get some more insight into healthy ways to move through these emotions, and the importance of them. But the acceptance of what is, is a very important step to finding joy.

So these are the qualities of the mind, really, that come from the way that we look at the world and directing our thoughts purposefully. So you will find perspective, humility, humor and acceptance, by the way you direct your thoughts. And like I said before, your mind will take you to all sorts of crazy places, if you don’t direct your thoughts on purpose, you need to talk to your mind more than you listen to your mind. Focus on these four great qualities of the mind. And start there.

Okay, so now we’re going to move into the four qualities of the heart. And these are qualities that you can develop, but they’re more feelings that you will feel in your heart by cultivating the qualities in the mind first.

And the first one is forgiveness. So forgiveness is so incredibly important. It’s the only way to heal ourselves, and be free from the past. Because without it, we remain tethered to the person who we feel harmed us. And we are bound to them with chains of bitterness and anger, trapped in a relationship with that person. And that person holds the key to our happiness until we forgive them. Until we forgive them, they will be our jailer. But when we forgive, we take back the control of our own fate, and our own feelings. Forgiveness, we usually to extend it we want, we want to feel to have the opportunity to tell this person, how much they have hurt us. And to have them accept responsibility for that and offer an apology. We want that to be the model that we work from big forgiveness from that is very rarely something that will happen. But it does not mean that you can’t extend forgiveness to anyone. Because forgiveness truly is something that comes from yourself. It’s you releasing those feelings of being harmed those thoughts of being harmed by another person, and allowing them to not have control in your life anymore.

The second quality of the heart is gratitude. And you don’t I think there’s a misconception that like you need to be happy to be grateful. But the truth is that being grateful creates happiness. Because Gratitude is the one of these main pillars of joy and we can find gratitude in all of our life circumstances. When we find gratitude, in the most difficult parts of our life, we began to find more choices and power in the experiences of our own lives. I did a whole episode on gratitude just a few weeks ago, around Thanksgiving. It’s episode number 24 the importance of gratitude. I would love for you to go listen to that one because gratitude is a huge part in these pillars of joy. It was so big that I needed to give it its own episode. So go listen to episode number 24.

The third quality of the heart is compassion. When you possess compassion, you have all the other virtues. Finally, compassion for yourself. And what got you to where you are now is key to forgiving yourself and others. And from that parenting lens again, finding compassion for where your child is now is key to being able to love them without conditions. And we all have a divine nature, when we live into that we find compassion is at the core of it. It allows us to care for other people and be kind thinking of them instead of us. Because when you’re more compassionate, it ripples out to others. And it helps others around you to be more compassionate to the other people in their lives. It’s like this, the ripple effect. And there’s so many times that we have had our hearts hurt. Even as a parent, there are a lot of opportunities to have our hearts hurt by our own children. And sometimes we’re afraid of having an open heart because we think that somebody, even our child will take advantage of us because of it. And we like to talk about empathy. Empathy is kind of a buzzword right now. But really, the difference between empathy and compassion is that with empathy, we experience another person’s emotions with them. And with compassion, we want what is best for the other person. And we work with them to help them find that. And if we can approach our children with compassion, it helps us make better decisions for them. And for us, as we parent more as heavenly father does.

And truly self compassion is the key to being able to turn compassion outward, even to our own children. So if you’re finding yourself in a lot of judgment, for where you are for things that you’ve done in the past, for things that you’ve said, or things that you haven’t done even, and you find just a lot of judgment of yourself, need to find some self compassion, in order to truly find compassion for your child or for anyone else.

The fourth quality of the heart is generosity. And this is a natural outgrowth of compassion. So in generosity in the sense that it is a generosity of the Spirit. And it involves giving your wisdom, your moral and your ethical teachings, and helping your child be more self sufficient and happier in their own life. Because our children are hurting too, and they pull away from us is they do that relieve some of the pain, but it also creates new pain for them. Because they’re not close to their parents, they don’t have a strong connection with their parent. But if we can be generous and extending forgiveness, gratitude and compassion to them, as we began to teach them to do the same thing and their lives for themselves, and for other people, we can start to heal those wounds. So how can you have generosity for those outside your family? There’s a lot of generosity that happens during this holiday season. But what about the rest of the year? And what about generosity in ways that are not financial? What about generosity of kindness and understanding, mourning with those that mourn and comforting those who stand in need of comfort. Those are often more meaningful ways to be generous. And they will often go a lot further with someone who’s struggling then giving financial generosity which has its place and is important, but sometimes is short lived. So generosity of spirit, generosity of compassion and kindness.

So these qualities of the heart will become much easier to develop as you focus on developing the qualities of the mind. So if you’re looking at these eight pillars, and I’ll read them off to you again, they are perspective, humility, humor, acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity. As you cultivate these qualities in your life, you will be able to find more joy in your life. So what is your ability to reframe your life’s circumstances in a positive way? And like I said before, not discounting that things are hard. But looking at everything and seeing a blessing in life’s most difficult circumstances. What is your ability to experience and express gratitude to those in your life? And even for the circumstances in your life that are difficult that you would rather not have? What do you find in them that you can be grateful for? And what is your ability to be kind and generous? When we focus on ourselves, we become a victim of our own life, and we’re not able to be kind and generous to others. So what is your ability to look outside of yourself and beyond what your circumstances are right now, to see others and to be kind? Do you notice what other people’s needs are? Because doing this and focusing on this will bring more joy into your life. I love these eight pillars of joy, it’s a great book to pick up, I’ll have a link for you in the show notes to buy it on Amazon because that’s where I got it. And it’s not an affiliate link. I just love the book and want to share it with as many people as possible.

So sign up for this relationship reset workshop in January. Use that reset discount code, get $70 off give this workshop is the gift that will keep giving all year long because it just has the ability to change the trajectory of your relationship with yourself and with other people. You will especially near this workshop. If you have found yourself with resistance to anything that I’ve said today. Or if you have found yourself struggling with the things that I listed in this podcast. You will need the things I will be teaching in this workshop. So you can find more joy in your relationships next year, no matter what. Have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll see you next week.