Stealing My Joy

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Recently, a client used the term, “stealing my joy.” She was talking about work that felt uncomfortable and challenging to her. It was a brilliant and insightful statement in that she realized she was putting ownership of her happiness outside of herself. If we get to choose our own joy or happiness, how is it possible for anyone or anything to steal it from us? Yet many of us have moments like my client’s in that it’s far easier to blame something else for our unhappiness versus owning it ourselves.

“My husband ruined the moment.” “My kids took all the fun out of it.” “My boss makes my job miserable.” These are but a few examples of what we often say to ourselves about challenging situations. And though these responses are perfectly understandable, the responses themselves may be the problem, not our spouses, children, or bosses. I know I just annoyed a few of you with that comment, but I’m okay with that because I’ve also enjoyed blaming other people and situations for my unhappiness frequently.

But here’s the thing. Our joy is ours to own or give away as we see fit. No one can take it from us unless we let them. It took me years to really understand this concept and truthfully, I still struggle with it. If someone is being rude to me, shouldn’t that be their fault? Yes, their behavior is on them, but our response to their behavior is on us. Sometimes the right answer is to get away from that person, if possible. But more often, the right answer is to change how we see that person or situation.

Our joy is ours to own or give away as we see fit. No one can take it from us unless we let them. #happiness #joy #choice #fear Click To Tweet

Owning our Joy

My client realized that she was giving her joy away due to fears she had about her future. It was easier to feel the lack of joy then it was to dive into something scary and uncomfortable. Who of us hasn’t been there before? I certainly have. Sometimes I like to sit in my own joylessness for a bit before I decide that I’ve got to own my happiness and do something about it.

Can we still feel joy when others around us aren’t so joyful or enjoyable? Yes. It’s hard work, but we can. Can we feel joy when doing tasks we find unpleasant? Yes. Yes we can. Can we feel joy when our kids are unhappy? This is even harder, but yes we can. You may not choose to and that’s okay, but always remember that it’s a choice. I like to rephrase my client’s comment by thinking, “I’m giving my joy away right now. How come?”

So think about why you are giving your joy away and decide if that’s how you want to move forward in your life. What would holding on to joy mean to you and why might you be afraid to do so? There’s no such thing as a joy stealer. Only someone who gives their joy away. Make this year the year that you refuse to do that no matter what comes your way.


Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. CPC

Lisa Kaplin Psy. D. PCC

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Smart Women, Inspired Lives: How to Be Happy & Confident

by Dr. Lisa Kaplin
Do you long for more energy? Do you wish you could walk into any room and feel happy and confident? Do you simply want to enjoy your life more – personally and professionally? You can. Too many women today are doing more, but feeling less satisfied. Life doesn’t have to be that way. With small tweaks and simple strategies, you can enjoy a great life with soaring self-confidence, a good sense of well-being, and plenty of laughter. This easy-to-read yet profoundly impactful book will be all you need to join the tribe of smart women living inspired lives. Your life gets better right now.

About Lisa Kaplin, Psy. D, PCC

headshot of Lisa KaplinCertified Life Coach and Psychologist at Smart Women Inspired Lives.

I’m the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives, where I help overwhelmed and exhausted women move from the feeling of being “stuck” into a life filled with calm, confidence, and joy. In addition to the posts and articles I write, I offer individual and group life coaching sessions, classes and speaking engagement opportunities.


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Gain the Confidence You’ve Always Wanted

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Biding Time?
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