It's hard to believe in joy when life has dished out one blow after another. How do we trust in hope in the future, when our pasts have taught us distrust and be wary of good? It's easy to have joy when joy is all you've known. How do you have you have joy in a desperate world?
Find the Good
I know this is easier said than done. It's hard to find the good when the bad seems like an all encompassing sinkhole. I promise you it is there. It may be the smallest thing but it is there, and it is very important. Finding the good can be realizing that you survived the thing that you thought would take you out. It may be genuine care and concern from a loved one. The good is anything healthy and helpful that allows you to smile, even if for a second, from your heart.
Look for the Helpers
This is a lesson from Mister Rogers. No matter how bad situations may be, there will always be someone around that is willing to provide help and support. Now, sometimes neither the helpers nor the help will look like what we would expect. Put down preconceived notions and rest in knowing that help can come in many forms.
Mindfulness is a great way to notice the joy around you and pull it into you. On days when I'm stressed or worried, I tell myself to listen for the birds. This may mean I need to stand outside, open the sunroof of the car, or just sit still near a window. In any instance, the key is to focus on hearing the birds outside. If I can hear just one bird then I've found my joy anchor. For me, this is a spiritual thing. If the birds are okay, then everything else will eventually be okay too. There are other ways to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves is pausing long enough to be aware of where you are and what you are feeling, thinking, and sensing in the moment, and resting in it without judgment, as you move through it in a healthy way.
Be Vulnerable to the Positive
For those of us who have been hurt attempting to embrace joy, it may be hard to open ourselves up to those things that lead to joy. Having happiness and peace that resonates from the soul means being vulnerable. Brene' Brown says that joy is the most vulnerable emotion. To have joy means to open ourselves up to the possibility that something can happen to take away or dampen our joy. If I never love you, you can never break my heart. If I never dream and go after it, I will never have to worry about failing at it. A life without vulnerability is a life that's never really fulfilling. The edge of fear leads to joy. Let's open ourselves up to the possibility of the positive.
Embracing joy can be scaring. It means acknowledging our feeling, admitting to our fears, searching within ourselves, and looking beyond ourselves. With practice, we can do this.
(C) 2020 The Hope Pusher, LLC | Dr. TJ Jackson