Have you read Daring Greatly, by the brilliant and amazing Brené Brown? If you haven’t yet read this book, I’d highly recommend it. If you have already read this book, I’d highly recommend reading it again. And again. And again.
Did I mention giving this book a re-read? You should totally do that.
The part that’s ricocheting around the walls of my head tonight is the part on foreboding joy:
“Scarcity and fear drive foreboding joy. We’re afraid that the feeling of joy won’t last, or there won’t be enough, or that the transition to disappointment, or whatever is in store for us next, will be too difficult. We’ve learned that giving in to joy is, at best, setting ourselves up for disappointment, and at worst, inviting disaster. And we struggle with the worthiness issue: Do we deserve our joy, given our inadequacies and imperfections? What about the starving children and the war-ravaged world? Who are we to be joyful?
If the opposite of scarcity is enough, then practicing gratitude is how we acknowledge that there’s enough and that we’re enough.”
This notion of foreboding joy smacked me right through the soul when I first heard it. It was like Brené had put a name to the heavy, isolating, put-the-brakes-on feelings that I experienced every time I dared to be happy. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was waiting for some disaster to sweep in, negating the preposterously joyful liberties that I was taking with my life as I nonchalantly smiled through my days.
Where did these nutso feelings of impending doom come from? Well…
Someone once told me that it wasn’t normal that so many good things happened in my life. She told me that it was just a matter of time before the arrival of the incoming disappointment that would karmically wipe out the goodness. Essentially, she wanted my life to have more “bad” things in it so that it would more closely mirror her own. I believed her, hook, line, and sinker.
That fear of the unknown, fear of some incoming retribution, followed me around for YEARS. I would hold onto goodness with only half of a grip, afraid that it would all be ripped away if I dared to dive in with my whole self. I had to build up a defense wall that would protect me and my heart when the shit ultimately hit that proverbial fan. It wasn’t until I first listened to Daring Greatly that I saw a way out of that fear cave.
Gratitude. Be vulnerable. Name what you’re grateful for, because gratitude fuels joy.
“Don’t apologize for what you have. Be grateful, and share your gratitude with others.”
Fast forward to today – a day filled with vulnerabilities and moments of intense fear and sadness, but also a day heavily sprinkled with laughter, joy, and love. I remembered Brené’s wisdom and kept reminding myself to list my gratitudes.
- Today, I am grateful for softly falling, huge, and silent snowflakes.
- Today, I am grateful for moments of pause.
- Today, I am grateful for community.
- Today, I am grateful for yoga.
- Today, I am grateful for my husband.
- Today, I am grateful for the ability to breathe fresh mountain air, walk around outside in the snow, and eat delicious food.
- Today, I am grateful for love.