Today's theme is very close to my heart and one of my very personal challenges in life.
For some people, the experience of joy is a given. Something they learned when they were children, something that there was always space to experience, express and share with their family, with friends and close environments. The euphoria of joy is like a kind of drug that, understandably, leads to the search for more. Thus, they chase every experience, everything that can bring them close to this feeling, avoiding its opposites, similar to a drug addict looking for his dose to stop the pain from coming.
For some other people the experience of joy is a more complex process. Either because they experienced something traumatic as children, because the environment they grew up in did not encourage it so much for whatever reason, or because as souls they may be closer to other emotions. Their relationship, then, with joy was interrupted for a while, was prevented or mediated by other, difficult feelings such as sadness, anger and fear. Therefore, the restoration of the relationship with the joy for these people may need some work and can be interrupted again more easily with a reminder of the event that initially interrupted it (death, sickness, traumatic event etc).
Under no circumstances do I imply that these people cannot experience joy or that they live in agony that it will cease at any moment.
We live in societies that are obsessed with 'positive' feelings and against the so-called 'negatives' ones. Joy, happiness, satisfaction must be experienced on a daily basis and if someone dares not to smile, then it means that they are not well or that they are depressed.
I am wondering if anyone truly believes that another person chooses consciously to feel lonely, sad, angry, or hurt.
We have all met people who experience difficult feelings for long periods of time, maybe even years and we have been affected or felt bad about them not doing anything to change it or open up to someone to help them. How long a person's grief lasts, whether someone knows how to express and transform difficult feelings into something else, whether he has control or tries to express something through them is purely personal marches and everyone has to give his own answers. Similarly, if and what position does he take towards a person who experiences such emotions, for example, if one is not connected with his pain, then he will not necessarily be able to connect and support someone else's pain.
I am one of those people who believe that emotions are not these unexplained states in which someone suddenly finds themselves in, but states that carry information about our relationship with ourselves and our environment at any given time (close or distant). For example, if we feel fear, our system has noticed something threatening (imaginary or real) and informs us about it through the emotion of fear.
Thinking of joy one word comes up again and again in my mind.. adequacy.
Whether it concerns objects, conditions or relationships with people, the fact that someone feels joy about something, means that they appreciate (attribute value) something at that given time that is sufficient for them. Like a form of wholeness, a state of euphoria where what one is happy with is enough to give birth to this emotion as a response.
I observe again and again people (and I have been one of them) who are lost in the day, in the week, in their moment because nothing is 'enough'. They want to do more things, there is a constant agony that they have not done enough, that there is not enough time, that they have forgotten something, that someone or something has not been taken care, that they have no right to turn off the ever moving switch because they have not reached the 'good enough' state.
I think we all can imagine how difficult this can be for the individual and perhaps for those around him who might be trying to connect with him. In this agony, the individual loses the prospect of joy as it becomes the feeling that is projected into the future and he will feel it when he first fulfils his obligations. A constant movement, then, an accomplishment that never happens. It's like a marriage that stays in the stag dos and practically never takes place, neither its reception.
The experience of joy calls for a pause, for a moment of breath where a person can recognise and appreciate what he has got, what is happening, what he has already accomplished, what he plans to accomplish, the people he has in his life and they love him , the fact that he is alive and takes breath at that very moment, for the creation, the life and the love that exists around him and so many other things.
The list is endless to the extent that we could say that we may constantly live in awe because of how many reasons we have to be happy every moment.
To be cut off from joy, whether we admit it or not, is inevitable because in life there are difficulties, we get pressurised, we get ill, we are hurt, we cry, we separated, we are afraid.
But putting our lives in the prospect of joy, whenever and as much as we can, by appreciating 'that there is', that is our choice...