I have had this topic joy for several months and have never been able to tackle it until now. My main concern with the word joy is whether or not it is a product of the first world? I think yes and no. Joy from watching the latest HBO show or getting the newest iPhone is definitely a first world creation. But I believe that inherently, we all want joy in its most raw form—being alive and having a meaning to that life.

Whether having a meaning is predetermined or not, whether it’s religious or not, we are all on some sort of journey and doesn’t it make sense if we all make that journey easier for us and the people around us? In light of all the war, the hate, and the prejudice, finding joy has been a huge question for me.

I’ve resolved to believing joy is incredibly simple if we could strip all the modernity and civility of community needs. What if we were just beings in search of a meaning, without tools and/preconceived notion?

As I go on my own journey, I’ve decided that I should make a pact to myself in how to be a person of joy. So here’s how I tackle how living a life with Joy, the Sam way.

Let go

Let go.

It’s very Buddhist of me to say “let go”. Life is suffering—accept it and move on. Our wants and desires make us suffer. But letting go should include getting out of toxic situation, stop dwelling on the past, stop desiring and just letting it happen. Let go of fear, insecurity, indecision, and all the things holding you back.

Say no

Say no.

There are times when people will ask something, beg of something, guilt you into something. If you’re not comfortable, just say no. There’s no crime against saying no, short of offending some law officer.

Say yes

Say yes.

On the other side of no is yes. Learn to say yes to yourself. For yourself. For all the right reasons. With all of your heart. If you aren’t fully 100% committed, don’t torture yourself.

Be honest

Be honest.

Be honest with yourself and others. Lies get you nowhere. Lies hold you back. Lies are for unsecured people. Lies are for thieves.

Be kind

Be kind.

Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone is on the same journey, even if some people think there’s a short cut. There’s no shortcut to life except maybe death. But death will make you miss out on maybe your only chance of life and joy.

Be fair

Be fair.

Be fair and just. See both sides of the story. See all sides of the story. Just because you want to believe something because you want it to be true doesn’t make it the truth. Life feels unfair and unjust. There’s no need for us to contribute more to that notion.



Forgiveness has always been my weakness. Forgiveness of myself, forgiveness of others. I hold grudges and resentments. I cannot forgive as easily as I wish I could. I feel wronged. I feel used. I feel taken for granted. They all stem from my inability to let go. So once I learn to let go, I have to learn to forgive so that it doesn’t fester inside of me, taking away the joy I am in search of in this lifetime.

In closing, as I continue to move forward, I hope to always retain and mull over these notions to help guide me towards a more content life, a life of joy, and a life meant to live.