This is my year-long journey guided by GG Renee Hill’s book A Year of Self-Reflection Journal: 365 Days of Guided Prompts to Slow Down, Tune-In, and Grow. (Note: this link takes you to Amazon. I am not an Amazon affiliate. I am not a paid promoter or advertiser. I share things that help me, and hopefully, they will help you, too.)
“Research suggests that journaling is a fundamental tool for self-reflection, as it allows us to transform our observations into intentional decisions and actions that align with who we are and who we want to be.”
Week One, Day One: Choosing Happiness
What makes me feel joyful even when things aren’t going my way? (my interpretation of the prompt)
The first prompt of the first day of my year of self-reflection journey, and I am already frozen in fear and panic. It is very reminiscent of the feelings of going from being home-schooled to the public school system in second grade.
That first day of school, already feeling so out of place, I realized I was behind all the other kids. Last year, they learned how to tell time on analog clocks. I did not.
I didn’t know how to tell time on an analog clock. I knew digital clocks. They were easy. But analog clocks? I had no idea. I already felt like an outsider on my first day.
What is Joy?
The same feeling of fear and dread that gripped me that day took hold of my heart as I read the words, “What makes you feel joyful?”
My mind went blank.
What does that mean? Why did I blank on the answer to that question? It seems like such an easy question. And yet, I have nothing.
Does nothing make me joyful?
Perhaps I don’t understand what that means.
To the Googles!
Because I need to know, it’s important for me, as I work towards finding happiness, to retrain or reframe my brain to find the joy in things instead of the negative. Especially now, as I am beginning to realize how my brain was taught to see only the darkness, I want to see the light more.
I need to figure this out. I will figure this out.
In my research, I came across a Medium article, Why Is Feeling Joyful Important? (Note: you may need a medium subscription to read this article).
I want to work on choosing the life I most desire to lead. Consciousness creates reality, and I desire to choose the reality that brings me the most joy and happiness.
I am beginning to understand this idea of joy, and interestingly, the article goes into selfishness and how we are told we are being selfish when we put our needs first.
Because, in part, finding joy is about yourself and where within you that spark of light resides that spreads outward and creates a feeling of harmony with your soul.
Joy resonates, and it is a feeling that only I can have. I can’t ask someone else what brings them joy and take their answer to incorporate into my bucket of joyful feelings.
Okay, so I can’t ask someone else. Well, shit. That’s especially difficult for someone raised by narcissistic parents as I was. All of my feelings were invalidated unless they helped my parents in some way.
External validation was how I figured out how to live and exist in an abusive world. What would make you feel joy? Was a question for me to ask my parents and then go do that for them. Nothing was ever for or about me.
There had to have been something that brought me joy to have survived all of those years. And so I go back in time to the childhood Talia to see what and where Talia kept her joy. A glimpse here and there of moments of freedom, a peek at a lighthearted kid laughing without fear.
The Joy Within
Those moments had one thing in common – I was alone. And usually, if I was alone, I was out riding my horse in the back fields.
What can I pull from that and bring forward into the present? I don’t ride horses anymore, so I can’t hop on my horse and go about the back fields anymore.
But I can and do find times to be alone. That was the commonality that all of my joyful moments have – solitude.
Those times of peace that I found? Those were when I was by myself, without any external influence or distraction.
Thinking brings me joy, but not just thinking about anything. It’s self-reflection. Having the moments to ponder myself and my place in the world.
It was those moments with my horse when I felt at peace that were the key moments in my exploration of the life I had been dealt with and gave me the ability to endure.
Solitude and Peace
Self-reflection was my survival tool as well as the thing that brought me joy. Even today, I am happiest when I am alone with my thoughts, left to ponder the world and simply be in that moment.
People, even when they are silent, have noise, a frequency I can pick up on, but to be out there just me and my horse, who resonated with a different frequency, was pure joy for me.
That solitude brought with it moments of singular joy, too. Like the day we were surrounded by a herd of deer that would normally scatter but, smelling only horse, dropped their heads to eat.
They were so close to us that I could have reached out to touch them. But instead, I leaned forward, resting my head on my horse’s neck, leaning into that peaceful moment.
I wrapped myself in that peace, being one with a world that I usually felt at such odds with.
Are you finding having boundaries is difficult? Are you unsure what boundaries are? I used to say “yes” to both of those questions. I highly recommend therapy. I found therapy a safe place where I could find myself again. I know you will too.
I recommend Online-Therapy.*