Choosing Joy in our Journey

Life has the habit of hitting us hard–especially when we thought things were going amazing. Despite how one defines a challenge in life, it is not something that we can fast forward through, prevent, or skip if it’s too much for us. I’ve been realizing that dealing with challenges is the consistent aspect of adulting that none of us focused on when we “couldn’t wait to be older” or “couldn’t wait to be an adult.”

If challenges are something that we all face, then why do we sometimes allow them to define us, our worth, our productivity, etc?

We live in a time that makes it so easy and effortless to compare ourselves to someone else or someone’s journey. We are all guilty of wishing we could go on that trip someone else went on, get that promotion like someone else did, or even having a lifestyle or home life like someone else; but what we fail to remind ourselves is that our journey is our journey and there is so much beauty in that despite what we choose to see when comparing our story to the watered-down version that we hear or see of someone else’s.

It’s time for us to start choosing joy in our journey. We cannot always prevent our journey from having challenges or not being 100% of what we’d want it to be, but we can change how we react and respond to it.

These five things have helped me move towards joy during my journey:

Patience really is Key

We have all heard someone say “patience is key” but how many of us really take the time to actively focus on and grow our patience? I know I have definitely struggled with this, but I have realized that you can’t really have joy during your journey if you do not learn to have patience in it. It’s okay to have goals but break the need to have hundreds of timelines on your life. All this is doing is allowing you to compare yourself to the idea of what you think you need to be. My favorite aspect of SMART Goal planning is asking yourself “Is it realistic?” “Is the time frame you want to do this in realistic?” “Is the way you want to achieve this goal realistic?”  If the answer is no then something needs to change. Be patient with yourself during your journey and with achieving the many goals and plans you have for your life.

Celebrate the Little Things

It’s okay to celebrate the little things. Sometimes people make us feel like our joy needs to come from something huge or monumental but in reality, you are the captain of your joy. You determine what you choose to put your focus and energy on. Choosing to put your focus on the little milestones or victories in life allows you to build a gratitude mentality, combat burn out, and continue to be your own cheerleader.

Watch the Company you Keep

Have you ever heard that saying “You are who you hang around?” As annoying as this saying can be, unfortunately, most of the time it’s true. If you are allowing yourself to hang out with people who don’t empower you, don’t encourage you to do and be better, or are constantly negative, think how this impacts your wellbeing. Most of the time, it’s not good.

Fast from it All

It’s okay to fast or take a break from social media or even social media pages that cause you to feel bad about yourself. Many social media sites allow you to mute certain pages or limit how often they appear on your feed. Use these tools to your advantage if you feel that your social media habits are not building you up! Scrolling through your news feed and comparing your life to someone else’s post is very unhealthy and can cause you to set unrealistic expectations for your journey.

Self Care Needs to be a Priority

Stop just saying that you’re making self-care a priority in your life–actually do it. Having peace of mind is extremely difficult if you are not taking time to focus on your well being. Even if your self-care is a blend of little things throughout your day, something is definitely better than nothing and will go a long way.


Take some time to start adding these five things into your life. Have additional suggestions to help other women maintain that joy? Share it! 🙂

About Alyssa McCall

Alyssa is a psychotherapist in the Washington, DC Metro Area. Her research specializes in raising career self efficacy and self esteem in women of color as well as media's impact on these items.