How to find joy again

“Am I a joy to be around?” Many people seek joy in their lives and wonder why they don’t attract it.

In widowhood, it’s easy to get locked in a downward cycle. The less joy you feel, the more hopeless things can look. You may long to be rescued from this (by yourself or by someone else), but don’t know how to begin. 

While in the downward cycle, it’s easy to become someone who complains a lot (weather, work, health, politics). Someone who sees only the dark side. Someone who’s apathetic. Looking backward instead of forward. In other words, “joyless”.

What are you willing to do to help you feel joy again? For example, something as simple as getting out of the house can point you in the right direction.

  • Walk the dog. Many people who wouldn’t necessarily approach you to talk, will easily connect with your dog.
  • Take a class in something you love doing (or want to learn). Share your passion with like-minded people
  • Join a gaming group. There’s usually laughter involved with this. And laughter typically brings up sparks of joy.
  • How about a book club? Find a group that’s reading something you will enjoy – is great for this.
  • Try smiling at the people you see every day (even if it’s hard at first, stretch those smile muscles). You don’t have to talk to them, just smile. This action alone can help you feel lighter.
  • Visit neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops and pick out three where you could meet your future first dates or new friends. This action will give you some measure of hope.

What are you willing to do to meet someone you really like? Write down what you want from a date or new friend (definitely not thinking about “wife” yet). For example:

  • Are you someone who likes good conversations? If so, what do you like to talk about most? Current events, business, theater, children, sailing, cooking?
  • How do you liked to be treated? Do you have a high value for politeness? Do you prefer a positive outlook? How about compliments – are they a necessity for you? 
  • Write down what you bring to a new relationship. This is good way to remind yourself what a good man and catch you are. I suggest writing down all the wonderful things your spouse said about you to begin this list.
  • Read these lists every day. Feel free to add things as you go along.

What are you willing to do to have a little fun?

  • Look for volunteer opportunities. I’ve found giving back to others helps me feel much more positive. You could read to children at the library. Help out at the local animal shelter. Volunteer as a docent at the museum, as an usher at a theater, or as a mentor for small businesses. 
  • Try out a sport. You could take up golf. Or, have you heard about the latest rage “pickle ball”? It’s been highly recommended to me from lots of folks. And if your favorite thing to do is hiking, there are many kinds of groups out there.

The beauty of all the suggestions above – they give you something to do that is totally under your control (in other words, not dependent on or limited by someone else).

So, I encourage you to pick one thing to look into. Try it out for a week or so, and see how you feel about it. If you find yourself feeling better, then pick another thing to try along with the first one. If you didn’t enjoy the first thing, then replace it with another idea. Remember… this is supposed to be fun.

The  more you get involved (and feel involved) in things that bring you happiness and joy, the more you’ll attract others who have joy in their lives as well. 

Often we are our worst enemies because we’re unwilling to do something differently. So, what are you willing to do?

~ Christine
Dating and Relationship Expert

Goal Setting + Purposeful Dating = Satisfying Relationships 

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