I have a friend who is one of those people whose presence can light up a room and brings a sense of peace and joy to everyone she meets. She is one of those people who always has a smile on her face and is always looking at the glass as half full. A lot of people would say to me, “her happiness is just a façade. She is really probably struggling inside and thinking badly about everyone.” Or “don’t you ever get annoyed. Her joy is exhausting.” It was amazing how quickly people tore her down for one of her biggest character strengths. On the other hand, I found her joyfulness to be exhilarating, uplifting and encouraging. I always left wanting to be a better person because of the profound peace and happiness she possessed. 

Have you ever known someone like this? Someone that holds such deep rooted joy in their hearts that it radiates to anyone and everyone they come in contact with? Someone that has the ability to transform a life simply through their joyful smile or attitude?

There are few people I have known that possess this kind of true, inner joy, but that doesn’t mean it is unattainable. We all have the capability be joyful people. Joy is not a feeling but a choice. Being joyful means maintaining a good attitude even when life is hard. When you are joyful you are in control rather than allowing your circumstances to control you.

When I began to look at the character traits of genuinely joyful people the following were some common attributes: 

1. Grateful

Joyful people are grateful not only for what they have but for where they have been. They are grateful for the lessons they have learned, no matter how difficult or sad they may have been. Grateful people look at every situation and circumstance as an opportunity to grow and are able to take pleasure in the small things that everyday life has to offer. 

2. Humble

Joyful people realize that they don’t always have the answers. They are vulnerable and open to constructive criticism knowing that they can only improve and learn from their mistakes, which will result in joy. Being humble means always putting others and their needs above your own.

3. Selfless

Living a selfless life means living a joyful life. Being selfless means you do not look out for your own interest or for personal gain, but rather you look for what is best for the other. When we are selfless we are generous in our thoughts, words and actions towards others. Joyful people are able to put other’s needs before their own.

4. Loving

Joyful people are often loving people because they are able to appreciate others despite their flaws and transgressions. They are able to look past the negative aspects of a person or situation and find the good. Loving people do not judge but rather are generous, kind and compassionate towards everyone. 


5. Forgiving

Joyful people are often very forgiving because they realize that we all fall and make mistakes. Forgiving is letting go of the hurt and anger that people may cause us and choosing to love them instead. Forgiveness allows us to wish others well and thus be truly joyful. “Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hatred. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.”-Corrie Ten Boom

6. Charitable

When we are charitable we are able to put the needs of others first and consider them as important as our own. Joyful people constantly look for ways to exert charity through community service, giving financially or simply offering a kind word. They are always looking to leave something or someone better than they found them.

7. Attitude is Everything

Joyful people are able to look at the glass as half full and maintain a positive attitude no matter what is thrown their way. Having a positive attitude helps us to achieve our goals even when difficulty or hardship may arise. Attitude is realizing that it is not what happens to you that matters, rather it is in how you choose to respond that makes all the difference.

8.       Surround Themselves with Other Joyful People

Joyful people surround themselves with like-minded people; individuals that will help them become better in all aspects of their life. Mark Twain said, “Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly, be that kind of a friend for your friends.” Surround yourself with people who challenge you and your character to be better and stronger.

9. Take Ownership of Their Actions

Joyful people are the first to admit when they are wrong and willing to learn from their mistakes. They take ownership of their actions realizing that each mistake is an opportunity to become better and grow as individuals. When we are able to learn from our mistakes we are able to make more positive choices for our future, which will lead to a more joyful life.

10. Habit

Joyful people make living joyfully a part of their everyday routine. You don’t have to set major goals from the get go. Instead, start by setting small goals each day to live a more joyful life. Make it a point to consistently put others first and look at life from a positive perspective. Look at life as an opportunity to become the best version of yourself and to help others do the same. You will find that by living joyfully in the small things, you will naturally begin to live joyfully in all aspects of your life.

While these points might be overwhelming, remember that living a more joyous life takes time, perseverance and dedication. Set small goals for yourself and then celebrate your achievements. People around you will begin to notice your joyfulness and will want to know what you are doing.

Mother Theresa said, “Profound joy of the heart is like a magnet that indicates the path of life.” Let your life be rooted in true joy through every decision you make.

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