The Daily Reminder – Day 27: Emotional Health + Joy

The Daily Reminder – Day 27: Emotional Health + Joy

Three little letters add up to one big-time impact word – J.O.Y.

Y’all, can I tell you how hard joy can be for some people? Including myself?  I have been in some very vulnerable conversations with people in my therapy room. And I often am challenged with asking difficult questions that many people don’t want to answer.  But honestly, no one in my training told me how hard the question about joy is for people to face.

“What brings you JOY?”

This question has stopped so many people in their tracks. Brought them to tears. Caused them anxiety, depression, anger.

Even in my own life, I have had to take a good, hard look at my ability to show joy. To experience joy.  And let me tell you, it is sometimes harder than it sounds.

Because, you see, joy is a vulnerable emotion to express. Sounds strange, right??  But think about it. Experiencing joy, expressing joy, tells the world that you are allowing yourself to feel something that might be yanked away from you. Many people don’t allow themselves to experience joy because the “know” it will never last. They think (or even say out loud), “Why would I feel joy, when I know the anger is just going to follow it? And then I feel even worse than I did in the first place…” Or… “It will hurt more when I have to face reality.”

It’s almost like facing the possibility of rejection. I won’t apply for that job because I don’t like rejection. I won’t ask that person to lunch, because I don’t want them to say, “no.”

Let me throw this out there. That way of thinking is the OPPOSITE of what we all really want!! We want happiness. We want success. We want to be healthy. We want a better job, a better house, a better car.  Well, let me state the obvious: Hiding in fear of the other shoe dropping is not the way to achieve any of those things.

Please, please, please. If you have had those thoughts about joy, I invite you to take the risk. Allow yourself the joy of something today. Even if tomorrow is dark, let today be filled with light. And I pray that no one, NO ONE, will regret joy. Ever. Again.

And in the spirit of my work with kids – consider what you might feel or think if a child stopped experiencing joy.  I know what most people would say, “I’m worried about Andrew. He seems so sad lately. Maybe he should see someone.”  When kids stop being joyful, we think there is something wrong. When your friend, the stay-at-home-mom, doesn’t show her joy, we don’t say anything. But folks, it shows the same level of concern. It just shows a different kind of concern.

Today. Find joy.

Recap from Day 26

I knew the forgiveness day was coming. And I put intentionally put it after the gratitude day. I know we need both. And we should be grateful for both the beauty of gratitude and the healing nature of forgiveness. BUT. I also know how much we avoid the forgiveness conversation. Myself included. And without going into details about my own forgiveness journey yesterday, it has been an issue that has been on the back burner for me for the last year or so. It wasn’t something or someone that I thought about a lot, so I just kept putting it off. I made excuses. I rationalized that it wasn’t a big deal. I told myself I was doing great…why bring it up!?!

But do you know what happens to a tiny wound that never heals? It keeps growing. And then it starts getting in the way of your everyday interactions. It doesn’t go away. It is always that little voice in the back of your mind that tells you that you should still be hurt. You should still be angry. You are still entitled to be upset. And yesterday, I confronted that and began writing about forgiveness. I began unpacking it so I can let go. I can’t say that I fully achieved forgiveness yesterday, because it is a process of healing. But I am farther along than I was the day before.

And for that, I am proud. Even small steps are something to be proud of!


photo cred (Bekka Mongeau)