How to Have More Joy
Good Evening, welcome to day 19 of my daily self commitment to write for 15 minutes each day.
I am listening to the sounds of my little puppy breathing beside me as he sleeps and feeling really super lucky to have him.
It wasn’t always the case, my life wasn’t always this blissful, and I mean blissful because of Billy the dog. I remember the coaching session where I discovered that if I waved a magic wand and had everything I wanted a year from that day it would be a small apartment to myself in the city and a puppy. I wouldn’t be married or charting off on some grand adventure, I would literally be hanging with my dog in a cool house feeling peaceful.
I have arrived. It took a bit longer than a year to convince myself that getting the dog was the most important thing I could do. Not because getting a dog is a fix all, although I might say that for dog lovers it is, but that it was the thing I wanted to do for myself for so long and never ever did. I found every excuse in the book for why I was avoiding joy, the most joy I could even imagine. Do you want to see my list?
I am not responsible enough to have a dog (lie)
I travel too much to have a dog (lie)
The dog will one day pass away and I will be devastated (true, but poor excuse).
I wont want to take care of the dog (lie)
The dog will probably get on my nerves (lie)
There are enough people who I love with dogs that I can have my fill (lie)
I don’t really deserve the dog, I haven’t checked enough boxes yet (lie)
Other people will think I’m not responsible enough to have a dog (lie)
The amount of joy I anticipate having is impossible (lie, lie, lie, BIG FAT lie)
This is the dialogue that went on in my head for years. It has taken me years, hard work, a lot of writing, becoming a coach, learning and processing to not have that dialogue about this particular issue. But at the core of all of that noise is this statement. “I don’t deserve that much joy.”
What does deserve even mean? Where does that term come from? Deserve? How many things was I missing out on because somewhere along the way something told me I didn’t deserve joy? Or perhaps I just told myself I didn’t deserve this much joy.
And why? Because I was afraid that if I got that much joy that eventually someone might take it away from me? Ok I guess, maybe. But honestly if I try to look deeper sometimes all I see is the beginning of that journey of simply telling myself I didn’t deserve joy.
Now I scream from the mountaintops and to anyone who asks, “I am just looking for joy in my life. I just want to do things that bring me joy, that spread joy, I just want to be around joyful people.”
Does this mean I stop doing the work? No, never. Does this mean I don’t have off days, or emotional days, or gray days? No. To be joyful I don’t need to be void of feelings and emotions. Joy is the predominant state. It is the state I strive to reside in and maintain.
And just like a lot of other good coaches I try to pull the joy out of other people. I ask things like, what was the best thing about your day? What has gone well lately?.
I pivot to joy if the person is focusing on the negative or stuck in a downward spiral. I never ever pivot to joy if someone is in an actually state of need. But if someone is playing their “I don’’t deserve joy”’ soundtrack over and over and out loud to me? I will totally pivot us to something joyful.
Profesional Coach Richard E. Boyatzis has a proven theory that we live in states called Negative Emotional Attractor and Positive Emotional Attractor each one imperative to growth. However, if over time the PEA (Positive Emotional Attractor) is not nurtured and maintained, humans will revert to the NEA (Negative Emotional Attractor) state because negativite emotions are stronger than positive emotions.
So why is it so hard to keep up with the negative aspects of your thoughts and emotions? Why does your dreamer get so worn out and beat up? Because even when we try our hardest, the negative emotions are stronger. Yikes! Knowing they have this kind of power over me really makes me want to flex my PEA muscle more often.
If the only way to have more joy is to practice having more joy, aren’t you going to at least try?
Come on, come on, it’s science! People already did all of the work to prove your skeptic wrong! There are hours and hours of data pointing to the theory that if we practice living in a state of joy, we will be able to stay in that state longer.
So, what are you going to do to bring you more joy this week? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org