“When you numb your pain you also numb your joy”
– Brene Brown
What does it mean to experience joy?
When you experience joy, you feel inner peace and express your gratitude freely. When you’re filled with joy, you allow yourself to be exactly who you are without the need to prove something to yourself or others. In a state of joy, you express your emotions, both good and bad, freely. When you dwell in joy you also allow yourself to be vulnerable. Only in a vulnerable state can we truly show up in our lives.
What’s the catch?
We all have a range of emotions, both positive and negative. To experience a positive emotion such as joy, we must also allow ourselves to experience negative emotions such as disappointment, fear or shame. Of course, we all want to experience as much joy as possible but often we place a limitation on the negative emotions we are willing to experience.
Think of emotions as attached to two different ends of a teeter-totter. To reach one end you must allow yourself to reach the other end. This means to fully be open to a situation where you could experience immense joy, such as falling in love or landing your dream job, you must also be open to feelings of deep disappointment, fear or shame. By placing a cap on disappointment, it will prevent you from going after the things in life that could provide you the most satisfaction and joy. By numbing ourselves to negative emotions, we lose our vulnerability and thus lose our capacity to feel joy. When we resist showing our vulnerability and reject our negative emotions we shut the door to joy and the peace and freedom that comes along with it. As humans, we want to experience pleasure and minimize our pain but in doing so we shut down part of ourselves.
By rejecting our capacity for vulnerability, we also reject our greatest need – love. We cannot love fully until we allow ourselves to feel our fears and share our weaknesses with others. Sadly, it is often in our closest relationships we choose to hide our vulnerabilities thus denying ourselves the experience of joy.
Disappointment, fear and shame.
Disappointment teaches us to find our way. Fear is normal, and it can be overcome. Deep shame is scary, but it is possible to free yourself from its grip. Our feelings make us human and knowing that we all share them, is the first step to healing.
When we have the strength to look at our deepest fears, free ourselves from shame and work through our disappointments, the joy that is brought into our lives is incomparable. I’ve worked with many men and women to help them break free from their fear, heal their shame and release their disappointments. A good Coach will help develop a plan to move you towards your goals without limitations.