In light of my word of the year (bold), I thought, “May as well start the year off with an intense, thought-provoking post.” As you may have seen from the title, today’s topic is on: discernment, trust and we will explore how these two concepts relate to joy.
Discernment. Meaning: The ability to judge well. For example, I’d describe discernment as the ability to ‘see’ a situation for what it truly is. Resulting in an action or finding out more information and/or observing a situation until it reveals itself.
Typically, society thinks of being judgmental as a bad thing. However, just as an animal doesn’t live long in the wilderness without fear; neither can a human truly ‘live’ without discernment. Being able to discern a situation, or a person, by seeing details and subtleties, while using wisdom to interpret your perception will give you the prowess of a lion.
On a human level, recognizing your ability to discern a situation appropriately, and taking calculated action builds self-esteem and self-trust. Which, leads us into the next portion of today’s blog: trust.
Trust. Meaning: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability and/or strength in something or someone.
I like to think of trust from the concept of a swinging bridge. The next time you are debating something big in your life, picture the topic as a swinging bridge. Yup, that’s right, high above a careening cliff, maybe even add in some rushing water. Do you trust the swinging bridge to get you to the other side? Or, would you like more information about the bridge? Perhaps it would be helpful to know who built it, when it was built, has anyone successfully crossed it? This little exercise really puts things to the test.
Next think about if you knew all about that bridge, perhaps someone you know and trust built it. And, you even got to see the designs. Therefore, you see it as a fun and safe adventure. A perspective, from which you will get to see breathtaking views and explore on the other side of the mountain. Knowing the bridge is safe, allows you to trust it, and cross it with joy and excitement.
A third piece to this exercise, is to think about the way you move about your life. Picture yourself approaching a different swinging bridge. You are on one side but all of your hopes, dreams and desired accomplishments are on the other. Now, picture your own decisions, thoughts, and actions as the materials used to create the bridge. Would you cross it?
Yes, no, maybe
Joy. Meaning: A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
There was once a trend to compare the difference between deep joy and brief happiness. (For example, this blog covers it well). I don’t necessary like getting into specific semantics of words; perhaps it is because of the international nature of my job. Usually the essence of the word is enough for me, and the simpler the better. However, the difference between joy and happiness seemed accurate to me. One of them said, happiness is fleeting; while joy is everlasting. Another said happiness is more of an emotion; while joy is a state of being.
In my experience, happiness was a moment to moment experience. While, joy finally came upon me once I learned to discern things, make better decisions and begin to trust myself. This self-trust came only when I’d consistently take my time, gather information, observe the facts and make a decision that was best for ME. It was much easier to get up each morning, cheerful and ready; able to face any circumstance KNOWING I could trust myself.
Today, I encourage you to think through the swinging bridge. Determine how happy or joyful you feel on a regular basis. Decide if you’d like to live a bit more, in joyful and eager expectation of what is going to come. Start making small but meaningful adjustments to your daily life. Give yourself the credit for improved decision making. Slow down where needed. And, give yourself the grace to change. Slowly, but surely your ability to discern a situation, and resulting improved decision making will come about. Soon after you will see your self-trust building and finally, you WILL experience more happiness and more joy.