My daughter attended a school retreat last week. When she came home she said thank you mom for my awesome life! She and my son do this every time they attend retreats. They don’t break any confidence but they do say how horrible other people have it. They have heard about divorce, abuse, depression, neglect, and tons of pain. They are appreciative when they return home but both of them have said they are not sure what to say while on the retreat. They don’t want to brag about how good their lives are to others, and they certainly don’t want to make others feel bad. A friend of mine who is a counselor suggested that they share their story without bragging. She said it gives others hope that a family life can be different, good, and filled with joy. I talked with my daughter about this idea but it is a fine line to walk. I have been in this situation as well on retreats and understand.
So, we had a talk about the joy we feel in our life and how lucky we are to have each other. Our lives are not perfect, there are highs, lows, and emotional roller coasters, we have issues to deal with as well. However, for the most part we just feel lots of love and gratitude for our lives. Both of us get a little nervous when we talk about it, like we may jinx it all. There is a feeling that it is too good to be true. After I meet my husband I often said, life is so good, a Mack truck is going to hit me. Recently, I was listening to a podcast and Brenee Brown spoke about this topic. She has completed research about joy and vulnerability. Her researched showed that the number one emotion feared most is joy! What!? Yes, you read that correct. People fear being so happy because they feel that it will be taken away. So, they would rather stay right in the middle, not too happy, not too sad. She interviewed one man who lived his life like that. Then his wife of 40 years died and he regretted not embracing the joy he had with her because once she died it didn’t make it any easier. So, we need to embrace the joy and love life, especially when it is good. Jinxing is not real but joy is.
Other people do appreciate true joy and some look to it with hope that they can achieve it too. Dr. Brown also said she learned from the research there can be no joy without gratitude. Today, reflect on your life, thank God for your blessings and then let the joy in and spread it to the rest of us!