Can Joy Be More Than Self?

Posted on August 10, 2023

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What I’m Reading: Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs

What I’m Listening to: Mike Todd, I Will When I Don’t Want To

What I’m Watching: Sweet Magnolias

I often hear complaints in the workplace, life, family, etc. referring to how much better life would be if and/or when they get to a certain point of life. Sometimes that certain point is geared around a promotion, raise, new job, improved marriage, vacation, no debt, kids out of school, or even a new city altogether.

I am not sure many have assessed where they are today, this present moment in time, to be more than grateful to have a roof over their head or be gainfully employed in areas that may be presenting difficulty in new employment opportunities.

Is that raise or promotion really going to improve your life? How many promotions have any of us heard of where the monthly take home, you know AFTER TAXES, equates to $1,000 more per month? The average salary increase for 2023 in the United States is 4.6%. That is AVERAGE.

So, let’s play this out, shall we?

Scenario 1: Annual Salary $35,000 – Add in the 4.6% raise and you are looking at a $1,610 annual increase. That is just under $62 additional every two weeks BEFORE taxes.

Scenario 2: Annual Salary $80,000 – Add in the 4.6% raise and you are looking at a $3,680 annual increase. That is just under $142 additional every two weeks BEFORE taxes.

These days, I am sorry, but $142 is someone’s water bill and $62 is a couple tanks of gas. What kind of improvement is this for life? One does not have to agree with the logic behind this, but I, personally, do not see lifelong enjoyment from $62 worth of gas each month.

On the flip side, how about we question our passions that, oftentimes, only requires our time?

My husband and I recently connected with an outdoor church in our city to provide sack lunches after worship service. While a sack lunch sounds small in the financial realm, it is the time invested meeting other people, hearing about their journey, praying with them and leaving them with something to sustain their hunger one more day that comes with a level of joy I cannot describe.

Let’s look at moving to another city where no one knows your name because you want a fresh start.

Yes, it works for many, but there are also many this does not work for as they may need that network of influence or family to assist with childcare, transportation, you name it.

New scenery? Awesome!

Struggling with familial responsibilities without your old network? Not so awesome.

So, what drives you where you are now? Where is your joy? What defines your joy?

Can joy be more than just yourself and personal feelings?

Is not joy defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness?

Is joy really just $62 for gas or can it be something more that you can share outside of yourself with others?

We all have something beautiful inside of us, we are all born with joy and control how much or little we desire to have. It is when we allow outside circumstances to affect how we are in our daily lives and community that steals that joy or causes us to place little value over obtaining such.

There is so much more within our own community we can do in order to expand our internal joy outward to others and watch that joy multiply.

You never know who you will meet that will carry that piece of joy from you to someone else that launches a business so large that it employs 500 people in your city. A business with jobs that provide on the job training and certification or housing stipends after 90 days.

I see it in local government often when you hear reports from Chambers of Commerce that include new economic development from corporations that have their minimum wage set at $18 an hour vs $7.50 or family entertainment options for those limited on travel funds where some travel requires overnight stays.

None of this is to say seek out the minimums, but if your joy is defined at the point you receive a merit raise of 4.9%, I would have to agree that you, yourself, are seeking minimum and not thinking outwardly for more in ways to serve others more than just yourself.

Self-assessment is the key to joy for self, others, and community.

How does this look for you?

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