Mama, Sometimes You’ve Just Got to Create Your Own Joy

On November 25th, I was “mom-shamed” for the first time.

I posted a picture on my Instagram that was sponsored by a car company. I was holding my Starbucks out the window, celebrating fall adventures including visiting our month-ish old daughter in the NICU, where she had been since her premature birth on October 17th.

A comment on the post read, “I just don’t understand how you can be so happy and make all these posts with your child in the NICU. Any time my kids were in the hospital I never left their side. Are you okay?”

…I know.

SO many folks so kindly and professionally jumped into supportive mode, exactly like any good girlfriend would, and for that I was SO thankful. This Monday Mantra is not to rehash any of that absurdity if being questioned for being “so happy.” This Mantra is about JOY. Because later on in that same comment thread, Negative Nancy commented again to say that “the overwhelming joy in each post is disturbing,” referring to the joy that I apparently exude through my content.


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Girlfriend, the world can be a rough, tough place sometimes. Oftentimes. So I’m here to tell you to create your own joy.

Create your own joy.

Create your own opportunities to become more joyful in life. Stop waiting for joy to fall into your lap. I heard the coolest quote on happiness once that said, “Happiness isn’t served to you; it’s earned. It’s created.” Think about that.

Happiness is earned. Joy is EARNED.

Meaning, it takes intentional action to achieve.

Happiness isn’t just something we magically stumble upon on the sidewalk. Joy isn’t something we luckily sit next to on the subway. Sure, we might witness someone ELSE’S joy by sheer happenstance, but to absorb that and carry it onward for ourselves? That takes some effort. It can be HARD to find joy in some circumstances. Heck, maybe even downright impossible. But nothing is impossible with God. And the only way that we’ve gotten through what we had up to that point was through the sheer power of prayer, and by intentionally choosing to create our own joy every single day—to recognize and celebrate the good things and little victories instead of dwelling on anything less.

Create your own joy.

When you want to become smarter in something, what do you do? You study.

What about becoming stronger? Whether that’s at the gym, or in the mind? You practice.

You take control of the one thing that you always can control no matter the circumstance: your perspective. When you put your perspective in check, the pieces start coming together to form a better, brighter picture that more closely resembles your end goal. When you study to become smarter, you’re setting yourself up for success by doing everything in your power to know more tomorrow than you do today. Same when you’re working out—you do 10 push-ups today so that you can do 15 push-ups tomorrow. Do more today to be more tomorrow.

So you wanna feel more joy in life? What are you doing today to be more joyful tomorrow? Are you filling your moments with things that make you happy? Are you focusing your mind on positives instead of negatives? Are you shifting your perspective to the good instead of harboring on the not so good? If we sit and sulk, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves for our lack of happiness. Heck, if anything, we made our own moods MORE sucky by sulking and sitting in that feeling of “everything sucks” rather than TRYING to brighten the day with something sunnier.

Erica Ligenza Gwynn
Erica Ligenza Gwynn
Erica Ligenza Gwynn is a one-woman blend of millennial chic, big heart, and savvy inspiration. As the founder of hit lifestyle blog Coming Up Roses, the Philadelphia-based business owner, mom, and wife covers every angle of modern young womanhood, from fashion and beauty to relationships and entrepreneurship. Determined to share what she’s learned, Erica also created BossPitch, an accessible online course that guides aspiring bloggers and social media influencers through finding and maintaining the right brand partnerships. Erica also dives into tactical tips to help others not just survive but thrive in life during her weekly THRIVE PODCAST. A motivational, hilarious, candid voice that hundreds of thousands of followers trust daily, she pushes women to see their true worth, take action, and savor their lives. Erica’s first book, CAFFEINATE YOUR SOUL: 52 Monday Mantras, is out May 5, 2020.

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