Joy: ‘a feeling of great pleasure and happiness’.
Devastation: ’causes (someone) severe and overwhelming shock or grief’.
Do you ever find yourself staring over your children when you tuck them into bed at night and think to yourself ‘God, I love you so much’. Then as soon as you think that thought, you think to yourself how devastated you would feel if anything were to happen to your child.
Has your flight ever been delayed at the airport due to ‘maintenance issues’ on the aeroplane that you automatically think to yourself ‘Lucky we were delayed. Something horrible could have happened to me or my partner or my family’.
Have you ever gotten into your car after a gym session at night and thought someone was following you or that somebody has been watching you and might intentionally harm you?
Have you ever been late to an appointment and then later on that night you see on the news that there was an accident on the road that you were meant to be on and think to yourself ‘That could have been me in that accident’.
Well these are some of the thoughts that I have had over the last few years. The minute I start to feel joy or feel that life is good, my thoughts are automatically over shadowed by grief or negative thoughts.
As humans we naturally tend to numb joy. The reason why we numb joy is because we do not like to feel vulnerable as individuals. If you are anything like me, I hate the feeling of vulnerability. It makes me feel weak as a person and I always assume if I show people how vulnerable I am they will also think I am weak or they may take advantage of me in my weakest moment.
Over the last two years I have been working extremely hard on myself to allow myself to feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is not weakness. Vulnerability is about embracing the joy and good in your life and not selectivity numbing the joy you feel by letting grief take over that positive emotion. When I have tried to numb negative feelings, I have also numbed the positive ones too. In order to experience the joys in my life I have had to re visit and work hard on practicing gratitude which I have blogged about previously.
I have been trying to focus on the joys in my life like the good health of me and my family, the fact that I have a roof over my head, food on the table, the fact that I have been able to stay home with my children over the last 5 years instead of feeling guilty for being a stay at home mum. I am grateful for my travelling experiences, I am grateful for my siblings, my friends and for the gift of life.
I have thought about why (besides disliking feeling vulnerable) I numb joy and a lot also has to do with external influences such as friends, social media, media, media images. How do the aforementioned make us numb joy? They makes us numb joy because the media, sometimes friends portray to us what an extraordinary life should be….we must have a nice house, drive a nice car, wear nice things and what happens to us? We end up addicted to debt, addicted to food, addicted to work, addicted to medication and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Why? Because we are trying to live an extraordinary life. What happened to a simple life? What is wrong with having less things, what happened to the basics of life? Why must I drive the latest car or buy and do things I simply cannot afford? Why numb the good in my life with the external and materialistic objects or activities when I already have been blessed with the important things in life. The news will tell us about how female joggers are being attacked so of course I stop going for my runs. The news shows us young children being abused and murdered and of course I think that might happen to my child. These negative thoughts numb the joys I should be feeling and experiencing.
As I continue to work on truly living a joyful life I ask that you don’t busy yourself with competing with others or compare your life to what media images portray. Be grateful in life, be vulnerable and give with a true open heart. Try as I have been to not focus on media and or social media as much. I barely watch the news and I don’t allow social media to dictate whether I am thin enough, pretty enough, am eating ‘clean’ enough or exercising enough. I don’t buy into materialistic objects and I will live where and how I want and I will buy and do things that I can afford. I will be proud of living a simple life that is stress free.
The last thing I ask is that you share your joy. Share it with family, friends, partners, work collegaues or even somebody serving you at restaurant or where you buy your regular coffee from. Joy is circular. Give joy and practice gratitude everyday and you will receive it back. Give with an open heart whether you baked a cake, whether you read and inspirational book or read some good advice. Show people who you are, be vulnerable and just do what is right for you. Be the best human being you can be everyday for yourself not because of what others dictate. We are all human. We all have emotions. We all have struggles. Why make life tougher then it already is. Be the best person you can be starting right this second.