How to Mindfully Choose Love and Joy in Your Life

Today I am joining host Sarah Hawkins of True North Business Management on the Mindful Habits Blog Tour. 13 women, 14 days, 14 ways to bring more mindfulness to the way you do business – and life!

Many moons ago, while working in advertising, I began a journey of self discovery and growth. I’d hit that burnt out stage in my career, doing creative work I actually loved, but not loving the hours, or the commute, or the lack of integrity I felt about marketing products that I didn’t have a personal investment in. I loved the excitement of the work but I didn’t love who I’d become.

And, my home life felt a bit empty. I’d just made this big leap, and gotten divorced, and it was as if I was giving myself this colossal time out. Time out for me, to think, to be, to figure out what was inside. To figure out where my “muchyness” had gone (a quote from Lewis Carol, from Alice). And here’s where I eventually landed …  I’d lost my connection to myself.

How to Mindfully Choose Love and Joy in Your Life: A great post on how to choose joy and make it a habit in your life including 5 steps. Click to read and Pin for later.

Choosing Love and Joy Becomes a Mindful Habit
The return to ME was a tender one. It started simply enough, with this one belief that started coming on stronger and stronger: In life, there are really two choices: to follow and make decisions from a place of love, or to follow and make decisions from a place of fear.

This is where I mindfully decided to make a habit of pausing before I was about to make a decision. Instead of answering or acting right away, I’d ask myself “Is this answer coming from a place of love? Or am I doing this from a place of fear?” If love was the answer, then I would do it. If fear came up, then I would say no. And let me be clear on what I mean by fear in this scenario; if the fear of being disliked, ignored, laughed at, unfriended, thought poorly of came up, those are the fears I’d say no to. If the fear of failing, making a fool of myself – say no to those, too. “Fear as a motivator” had a flip side, too, if I feared what would happen if I didn’t do something, then that wasn’t a reason TO do it. If I was thinking from a scarcity mindset, then that tied back to fear, too. All said, I started to train myself to truly be in touch if I wanted to do each thing before I did it.

And after I did this repeatedly, for a month, and then 6 months, and then a year, several things started to emerge.
1. It immediately shed the shoulds. I had a clear reason to make decisions. They were based in intention and always tied back to me. I was no longer living for someone else’s tastes or desires. This was big for me, coming out of a relationship where I really felt I’d lost myself. I’d somehow become the shell of someone who looked like a “proper wife” should. Now, if I asked myself each time – is this coming from a place of love? it would gave me a very clear answer.

2. I saw love building on more love
One of the amazing things about putting the lens of “love vs fear” is that when you start saying yes to love, it starts leading you down a path. Once choice (taking acting classes) would lead to another choice (taking improv classes) led to another (performing in front of an audience). Each step had to be the right one for me to resonate and move to the next. Love built on love, and it started leading to joy.

3. I found my own voice
If you’ve been in a place where you cow-tow to other people’s wishes, or are a people pleaser for long enough, you start to lose site of your own likes and desires. When “shoulds” take over, you lose your voice, and after a while, you might not even truly be in touch with what you want or need or yearn for. By asking yourself if each decision is being made from a place of love, I quickly learned what I wanted, and what made me happy. It was not always easy to stand up for myself in the beginning, but in time it became much easier.

4. I returned to the things I really loved
The pattern that emerged for me was, in many cases, a return to what I loved as a younger person. Acting, hanging out with friends, reading, playing video games, travelling, all of this came back into my life once I started approaching things from a place of love.

5. It made me face my own fears and be honest about what was holding me back
Once the practice of weighing love vs fear became part of my habits, there was no way for me to ignore the things I was fearing or avoiding. Decision by decision, I was asking myself if I was fearing the outcome of any number of decisions. If the answer was yes (that I did fear the thing in question), I naturally gravitated to this place of being curious; WHY did this thing bring up fear? was a stereotype of some sort involved? why did I care what other people thought of me? do other people’s thoughts on my actions matter? do other people’s expectations of me have a role in my day to day living? why was I going along with what other people asked me to do if I didn’t feel good about it?

The list was long. The fears that got dredged up were enormous. I had to get real about my beliefs and my life, and sit with long held beliefs.

6. It led me home
Ultimately, I (re)discovered who I am because of this lens. I still use it daily, with any big decision. I use it now, subconsciously, all the time. Choosing love each time brought me back to being happy. When I reclaimed control of my decisions and knew why I was making them, it truly led me to see and understand what Henri Nouwen meant when he said that “Joy is a choice.” Every moment we are in choice. To read these words, to sit where you are sitting, to speak to the next person you speak to. Each moment, you get to make a decision. When we choose love, it leads to more happiness and more joy.

How to Mindfully Choose Love and Joy in Your Life in 5 easy steps. Great to keep handy. Pin for reference, and click to read the whole article.

How to do this in your life:
1. Commit to getting curious about what your motivations are
2. Meditate on the root of choice – and look at the possibility of all choices coming from a place of love or fear
3. Leave yourself time to do the work, and with every decision to make, check in with yourself to see if it’s coming from a place of love or fear
4. Be kind with yourself if you don’t always accomplish what you set out to do
5. Start making changes on past decisions if you need to, to bring all things into alignment with your love based decisions

If this works seems interesting to you, I invite you to follow your heart and the five steps above. Two other ways? I have a free e-course on Finding Balance (sign up below) where you’ll walk through how to let go of “shoulds,” or, I have complimentary coaching consultation sessions that you can sign up for by clicking here.

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If you’d like to continue the conversation on mindfully choosing joy in your life, please join me and the other Tour Guides in the private Facebook community.

Learn more about Tour, and meet the 12 other Mindful Habits Tour Guides here.

In case you missed it, you can check out yesterday’s post by Tanja Gardner, Copywriter and Book Editor, in which she outlines how to say “bye bye” to writer’s block, using a personalised multi-sensory writing ritual that will help to shift you into a writing mindstate.

And you can come by tomorrow when the post from Rachele Pojednic, Phd, Professor, and Lifestyle Medicine Practitioner, goes live. She’ll cut through the confusion around what to eat by exploring the science behind truly healthful dietary habits.

How have you chosen joy and love in your life and where has it led you?

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  • Toughcookiemommy
    June 27, 2016 at 7:04 am

    I’ve always been a person who tries to think things all the way through before making any decision. It’s important to be mindful when these opportunities arise.

  • Vicky
    June 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I have been working through this process as well and making time for it is the hardest part. I am working each day to choose faith and joy.

  • karen
    June 27, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Finding your own voice is a major part of this process. It helps identify your needs and what creates happiness in your world. I think that if you keep listening to that voice, you will always find a peaceful journey!
    Karen |

  • Rose Sahetapy
    June 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Love is always the best foundation for every decision and action, but our decisions sometimes are taken simply out of fear because of certain reasons and circumstances. Love this post!

  • Rebecca Bryant
    June 27, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you for this. It is just what I needed. So yes thank you.

  • Rachel Langer
    June 27, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    I am a mess in my own brain right now – I don’t even know where my reasoning is coming from. I really need to pause and think clearly.

  • jill conyers
    June 28, 2016 at 1:33 am

    This is wonderful! Being happy is a choice. I love that you included consider where your choices are coming from. I stopped making decisions out of fear [for the most part] a few years ago. Life changing! Can you believe it was inspired by Jim Carey. haha

  • Kami @ FaithfullyMeBlog
    June 28, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Awesome post, I’m a huge advocate for meditation. We exercise for our bodies but when we meditate we give fuel to our brain. We start to think clearer and we can make better decisions.
    I’m glad that you saw benefits to choosing love and joy. I need to make my list. xx

    • Paula
      July 4, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      Yes! meditation does help 🙂 and it can change everything. I love that you’ve brought it up, Kami 🙂

  • Kimberly
    June 28, 2016 at 6:33 am

    I need to work on being kind to myself. I am always my worst critic.

  • Wendy
    June 28, 2016 at 7:23 am

    This is such a great perspective and one I need to use. I definitely feel separated from my own wants and desires and think this would help me get back on track.

  • Rachel s
    June 28, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I love the part where you found your voice! Also, we hear it all the time. We must love what we do, and if we love what we do its not really a job.


    • Paula
      June 28, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      Thank you Rachel! 🙂

  • Heather
    June 28, 2016 at 10:29 am

    This is awesome advice! I had to re-evaluate how I made decisions a couple years ago. My motivation was more people pleasing than anything for myself. Now that I have re-centered myself, I feel like I am much happier and can make better decisions to enjoy my life and live it to the fullest!

  • Tabitha
    June 28, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    My favorite step is to be kind with yourself. I tend to be way harder on myself than anyone else so that was a great reminder!

  • Toni
    June 28, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    Choosing joy is an amazing thing and so important. You advice about being kind to yourself is the hardest thing for me to do, but I know it is necessary!

  • CourtneyLynne
    June 28, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I love this!!! This exactly how I live! If you follow your own happiness, you are bound to succeed at everything!

  • Amber Nelson
    June 28, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    It is definitely a choice and other people around you can bring you do. It is important to be around others who are a positive influence.

  • Reesa Lewandowski
    June 28, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    I love this. Thank you so much for offering a step by step guide. It’s sad to say I actually need a step by step guide to my own happiness and joy!

  • Ana De- Jesus
    June 29, 2016 at 4:30 am

    Aw hun, going through a divorce must have been difficult and of course it would leave you feeling empty and sad. Its hard to deal with but choosing joy is definitely the first step.

  • Ashleigh Walls
    June 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I think you hit the nail on the head with stopping to think before decisions. such a small thing to do can really impact the way we see things and what we really want out of them.

  • Erin
    June 29, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    This is so so spot! I especially love the tip about keeping things in alignment. That is so so important and so often forgot.

  • Robin Rue
    June 30, 2016 at 5:39 am

    I needed this today as I sit back and think about making choices for myself. I majorly struggle with this.

  • Krystle Cook
    June 30, 2016 at 5:40 am

    Choices and decisions can be made out of fear for sure. I feel like I make a lot of my decisions that way and I need to start making more out of love for what I am doing for myself.

    • Paula
      July 4, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      If you can catch yourself in that moment, when you’re making the decision, and weigh out “is this coming from a place of love, or a place of fear?” it can really help. Best wishes, Krystle!

  • Denea
    June 30, 2016 at 10:27 am

    I can relate to this so much. I was so unhappy for a while and I figured out it was because I wasn’t doing anything I just loved. That can make a big difference.

  • Sandy Mangis
    July 1, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Wow, it was like reading part of my life. The changes I have been going through over the past couple of years on the journey to find me again has been so up lifting and the knowledge that so many others are right along side of you.

    We shouldn’t be stuck in something that doesn’t excite us and make us want to grow. Thank you for sharing such and inspirational piece.

    • Paula
      July 4, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      Thank you, Sandy! It’s true, we shouldn’t remain stuck in something that doesn’t excite us. It can be so hard, though, to move past those sticking points. I’m so glad you found your way to something that brings you more joy 🙂

  • Leslie Hernandez
    July 1, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    These are all great points of advice, I try to do each one everyday. I read a lot of self help books that have helped me a lot with my life choices and how to live a positive and healthy life.

  • Angela Bethea
    July 8, 2016 at 1:15 am

    I know exactly what you mean on this post. I can relate in so many ways. I have been neglecting a lot of things and with all honesty I really need to try meditating but I never really tried. I will push myself harder.

  • GiGi Eats
    July 21, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    Love and Joy are always a part of my life – whether mindful or not!