Healing means rebuilding your relationship with joy.
En-joi – “To take pleasure in” (something) and “To have or experience” (something good or helpful). Websters
Enjoy your life! My wife.
What kind of relationship do you have with joy? You know – pleasure, unbridled gladness and internalized happiness? Not happy-smiley optimism… but real-live-joy that breaks through the walls. Joy in the form of humor, satisfaction, losing yourself and being in the moment, and releasing control.
How is your relationship with joy?
Part of my recovery includes building a better relationship with joy. Sounds funny? I often joke that I have to schedule in time to be spontaneous. Yea, that’s me.
I have a good sense of humor, but I take life too seriously sometimes. This is a leftover from my childhood, I guess. Makes you wonder, is frowning an evolutionary protection against something? Maybe our ancestors learned to frown because it protected them from annoying small talk that may have resulted in being swindled out of their potatoes or collection of rocks.
Makes you wonder, is frowning an evolutionary protection against something? Maybe our ancestors learned to frown because it protected them from annoying small talk that may have resulted in being swindled out of their potatoes or collection of rocks.
Being too serious can become a habit
Taking life too seriously is something that follows you. When you face childhood pain, trauma, abuse, aloneness or other issues you get awfully serious about life. When you do smile, you fake it because joy feels too difficult. Not feeling joy can be a way to meet a need, because it keeps you constantly on the search for something to make you feel more satisfied. It keeps you on a search rather than being in the moment. Taking life too seriously can be a way to avoid a deeper life. If you don’t allow yourself to feel joy, then you can also block other painful emotions. You and I have a choice: live seriously and avoid, or live with joy and feel deeply, whatever life may throw your way. For more on this, read 11 Ways to Defy Your Depression with Humor.
Joy is different than Mindfulness
Enjoying life is more than being mindful. Mindfulness is about breathing and being in the moment. It is a good practice because if we do not enjoy the moments, life can feel awfully empty.
To enjoy opens all of our channels and we expand. Joy is like choosing a meal at our favorite restaurant. We imagine, we savor, we picture and then we choose. We cannot have everything on the menu, so we pick one, we wait and then we dig in. Joy asks you to close your eyes and savor. Joy may not be found in every moment so sometimes we need to wait. Joy is not a Genie that we rub and make a wish. Instead, we live our lives, respond to the needs around us and do what we need to do. We find joy when we make a choice and then live in it.
Joy is allowing the day to give you whatever gift it will give you: a sunrise, laughter with your friends or family, music, being surprised, finding grace where you expected anger, a renewed imagination in the form of a good book, a walk that gives you some fresh air, a fresh doughnut. Joy may even be found in your work, for more on this see A Serious Guide to Humor at Work.
Finding joy is in taking and making…
You take what life sends your way and you make the most of it. I hope that your recovery involved building a healthy relationship with joy.
Remember that enjoy literally means “In-Joy.” We get into joy when we live in our choices. If you lose the feeling, don’t worry about it. Just live your life, because joy will come back later. Joy is a deep emotion and may ebb, but it never leaves you completely.
This article is part of an ongoing series on healing. You can find the first article with links to all of the other articles here: 5 Ways That Will Help You to Let Go of the Past. If you enjoyed this article, you will also enjoy the first article in this series on healing: 5 Benefits of Being Humor Drunk and also Recovery and your Inner Grouch.
I write articles about wellness, leadership, parenting and personal growth. My hope is to deliver the best content I can to inspire, to inform and to entertain.
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Keep it Real
Photo by Arwen Abenstern