Foreboding Joy

Yesterday, I had a good day. Things flowed and came together. I worked out in the morning, I went to work, I had my hair cut, and I went to yoga. All good things. So, I was shocked by the end of this good day to see I was making choices to make me feel bad. I began to snack.

I snack when I feel vulnerability and I do not want to deal with my vulnerability. It is something I struggle with and I am working on. I start to feel a negative emotion or vulnerable about something and I head to the pantry. But today was different. I felt fine, no negative emotions and no vulnerable feelings. Then I remembered something Brené Brown writes and speaks about: foreboding joy.

We are foreboding joy by, as Brené Brown says, “…trying to beat vulnerability to the punch. We don’t want to be blindsided by hurt. We don’t want to be caught off-guard, so we literally practice being devastated or never move from self-elected disappointment.”

Joy’s constant companion is vulnerability. We must feel vulnerable to feel joy. Most of us struggle with feeling vulnerable so we never choose joy. We choose disappointment instead. We find a way to live where we do not have to feel joy. We fear the other shoe will drop and joy will not last forever, so instead of sitting with joy we beat life to the punch and make ourselves feel bad. We either makes choices that make us feel bad or we tell ourselves stories about how disappointed we are. Whatever we do, we take ourselves out of joy and into a negative emotion or state.

Joy is hard to feel because we cannot feel joy without feeling vulnerable. Part of feeling joy is accepting the moment of joy is not going to last forever. It does not mean life will be horrible after a moment of joy but this particular moment of joy will pass. We forget  another moment of joy will come. There are opportunities for joy all over the place. That is why I feel joy is a choice. We can live our lives choosing to be disappointed and trying to beat life to the punch, but we sacrifice joy.

Life is no better if we fear joy and vulnerability. Life is more empty and scary without joy and vulnerability. I know being vulnerable and softening into moments of joy is not easy but they are emotions worth feeling. We all forebode joy in a slightly different ways. Whether we live in a state of disappointment or we constantly imagine the worst happening, we are finding a way to take ourselves out of vulnerability and joy.

What would our lives look like if we chose joy more often? What would our lives look like if we allowed vulnerability and joy to be our teachers? More grace, more beauty, more love would come in. There would be more room for all the good stuff and we would find ourselves happier and full of gratitude. Because of this I feel choosing joy is something worth exploring.

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