In her book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says “Joy is probably the most difficult emotion to really feel.” Instead of allowing ourselves to experience it, we fear when it may end or when we may lose it. To avoid “being caught off guard, we literally practice being devastated or never leave from self-elected disappointment.” How many times have you… rehearsed doomsday scenarios in your head, or not allowed yourself to get excited about something because it might not happen? Or even become cranky at the end of a good time (like a vacation) because it is ending, rather than fully enjoying it.

Of course we do this to protect ourselves, but instead it often ends up hurting us more. By preventing us from having the courage to try something, or not fully allowing ourselves to appreciate what we have, this form of protection gets in our way. It cuts us off from really connecting with our experiences, with others and developing ourselves further. In other words… being vulnerable… being alive!

She says she learned:

  1. Joy comes in ordinary moments… we often miss it trying to chase down the extraordinary. Remember the last time you stressed yourself and others out to see that really special touristy site? Or prepare for the really special event?
  2. Be grateful for what you have… don’t take what you have for granted, celebrate it, and share it with others. In the age of modern technology, in the search for better … many lose, by pass, or are blind to what is right in front of them. Remember the last time you spent so much time trying to get the perfect picture you missed out on the actual place and people there with you?
  3. Don’t waste joy… when we turn away from an opportunity to feel joy to prepare for tragedy or loss we actually reduce our resiliency. With joy comes hope and strength that helps us, in the dark and difficult times that we all experience. When we practice acknowledging there is enough and that we’re enough…loss does not destroy us.

We can practice this in little ways. She describes her daughter … taking a picture memory… ” a picture I take in my mind when I’m really, really happy. I close my eyes and take a picture, so when I’m feeling sad or scared or lonely, I can look at my picture memories.”

What kind of pictures do you want to be storing up in your album for those dark rainy days? In Women’s Group, we will explore how and when we may hold off joy and recognize when we and how we can connect with courage and gratitude.
Read more in Patricia’s Blog…