Monday, June 2, 2014

What Does Your Joyful Bucket Look Like?

I like to think that as children we are all handed two invisible buckets to carry throughout our lives; a 'Joyful Bucket' and a 'Misery Bucket'.

 As we grow and encounter different people and experiences in our lives, happy and sad, we are faced with the choice to label each one as either positive or negative and store them in either our joyful bucket or our misery bucket

What does this mean? 

It means that at every given moment in life, you have the sole CHOICE of interpreting and utilizing your experiences to either further your individual joy or further your individual misery. 

Let’s take a look at a few examples: 

Stuck in traffic: You woke up late this morning (*holding my hand over my face in shame*) and you’re rushing to work just to meet traffic on the highway. Damn! This means you’ll probably be late. You can choose one of two options.

1. Complain, moan, get peeved, get stressed, raise your blood pressure, flip off fellow drivers that cut you off, create internal chaos for yourself, and add this experience to your misery bucket or, 

2. Take a deep breath (okay, maybe ten), remember that you are safe with all your limbs intact, thank God you haven’t encountered a collision (since you were probably speeding), call your office to apologize and inform them you’ll be a few minutes late (disregard the irritation in your bosses voice, it too shall pass), turn on your favorite radio station to enjoy some sweet jams, and add this experience to your joyful bucket. 

No-shows: It’s your birthday party and 7 out of the 30 guests you invited showed up. Embarrassing, to say the least! Yet, you can still choose one of two options.

 1. Complain, get mad, mope around, disregard your guests that did show up, turn your hurt into bitterness towards those that are absent, and throw this experience in your misery bucket or,

2. You can accept that the ones who didn’t show (even though they did RSVP) hurt your feelings but it’s OK because the world didn’t end and you won't let them steal your joy (I wrote about keeping your joy in this post, Stop Letting People Steal Your Joy!), you still have amazing people that showed up to celebrate your special day, you can enjoy good music and company with your guests (as few as they may be), you will probably have enough leftover food for at least another week (would it be wrong if I said this would be my highlight?), and add this experience to your joyful bucket.  

What’s my point? 

I’m glad you asked. 

If you want to be a happier person with a joyful life, you have to make the conscious CHOICE to see ALL your experiences (happy & sad, calm & angry) as life lessons/teachers working in your favor.

How do sad or angry or fearful or doubtful situations work in your favor?

They offer you OPPORTUNITIES to practice and develop your faith and the virtues necessary for you to have a great life – gratitude, patience, compassion, forgiveness, self-discipline, humility, empathy, etc. 

Can you imagine being grateful for the opportunity to forgive when someone close hurts you? 

Can you imagine having a state of calm and peace in situations where most people would normally “freak out”, have panic attacks, and start hating their lives? 

Can you imagine the rest of your life filled with extreme joy?

Believe it or not, you can have all of that. 

All you have to do is choose to place your experiences in your joyful bucket versus your misery one.

The choice is always yours...and mine/:

What are your thoughts on this, lovelies? Do you agree with the bucket analogy? Do you feel your joyful bucket is higher or lower than your misery one? Do you think it's B.S. and we are incapable of choosing our own labels for our experiences? Leave a comment below:)

Disclaimer: You’re still human; sometimes you will let your feelings get the best of you in the moment. Sometimes you might get angry and “pop off”. Sometimes you might get sad and feel hopeless for a few days. I can relate to those and more. The key is to remember that at any given point, you can change your outlook on a person or circumstance from miserable to joyful. Again, you can see a negative action by someone or a negative circumstance as an opportunity to strengthen your faith, love, and ability to forgive. You might not care to think this way immediately someone insults you on social media or something painful happens - I know I don’t always care to in the moment - but you can remember the lesson of truth in the experience a few minutes or a few hours or a few days or a few months later, find gratitude for it, and as a result transfer it from your misery bucket to your joyful one.

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  1. Another great post!
    I am bad for dwelling, stressing and worrying. I like this idea of "choosing a bucket" and trying to see the positive in every situation before letting the negative consume you.
    Happy I found your blog!

    1. I'm happy you found the blog too, Rachel! It is so easy to live in the land of dwelling, stressing, and worrying - I know! The bucket theory came to me after I accepted that although I can't control things that happen (to a certain degree), I can always control how I react (even when I feel overwhelmed by upset, I still get a say in letting it reduce me or teach me something more about loving greater). It's definitely not a "walk in the park" everyday lol