Feeling joyful sounds wonderful – something we all aspire to, every day… and yet according to Dr Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, many of us are terrified at the prospect of feeling joyful.
How can this be? Joy feels good so why should we be afraid of it?
In Dr Brown’s interview with Oprah, she reveals why joy is terrifying: it’s not the sensation of joy that we fear, of course, it’s actually the fear of losing it or the fear of never feeling it again.
It’s like we think, “things are going too well… I’m too happy… something bad is sure to happen!” and so we don’t allow ourselves to feel joy to the fullest.
It’s as though we feel unworthy of joy, and deserving of suffering!
In this eye-opening interview, Dr. Brown explains how we can flip the switch from “dress-rehearsing tragedy” to allowing ourselves to feel joy, completely and without any hesitation or reservation, by opening ourselves to vulnerability.
Gratitude will enhance your ability to enjoy life and experience joy without fear.
It’s too easy to slip into complacency or take things for granted and then when things break (relationships fail, tragedies happen and everything seems to go wrong) we realize – too late – that we pushed away our joy.
Practice gratitude throughout the day, as part of your meditation practice. After meditation you are already in a happier and more peaceful state, which is the perfect time to experience the feelings of gratitude.
Try this meditative practice: Bring your attention to something that makes you feel happy, and simply allow yourself to feel better about it whilst expressing gratitude for it.
Be grateful that it happened, that you had the opportunity to experience it, and just relax into that joy. If your thoughts drift, gently bring them back to the feeling of joy that you have right now.
Next, shift your focus to you, and express gratitude for who you are – really allow the love you have for yourself to expand more than you ever have before. This is important because then you will start to drop the “I don’t deserve to be happy” beliefs that keep you from fully experiencing joy on a daily basis.
Your everyday routine is a perfect opportunity to practice gratitude. Notice and consciously appreciate what’s working. Acknowledge goodness and beauty. Smile at the little things that enrich your life.
When you practice this, you start to look for things to be grateful for, and then something wonderful happens: you feel joyful… without having given a single thought to what could go wrong next.