Enjoying joy. The three beliefs that will stop you...
Are we giving ourselves the room & permission to enjoy our joy?
I’ve been noticing that sometimes we have a tendency to take the joy out of our joy. Why is that? Let’s find out…
Last time I wrote about complexity being a joy killer, but here I want to explore why, when we discover our joy, we often stop ourselves from enjoying it.
We can be our own worst dementors sometimes popping our joy bubbles before we have chance to wonder at them. It’s usually when we buy into the stories that we tell ourselves (or other people tell us). Here’s what I mean.
The top three beliefs that stop us enjoying our joy:
1) I must grow up
This is the one most of us fall for. I don’t think being a responsible human being is the same as our weird concept of ‘growing up’. We tend to think of growing up as being serious, being overly responsible for everyone and everything, forgetting our dreams and never playing.
Bullsh*t! Growing up is all about amplifying and developing all those parts of you that make you unique. Your sense of fun and adventure, the way you play (sports, arts, sex, travel…the list goes on), your life dreams and goals, your connection to others. Growing up means taking all those amazing parts of yourself into your future, making them more vivid, more glorious and even more you.
Just watch the movie Tag to see the power of play in action. Is it any wonder we want to revisit kidulthood? The trend for grown up play like escape rooms, ping pong bars, colouring in books and zip wires all yell out - let’s be kids again!
2) I should monetise this
In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about making your joy pay for your life. To her it’s a big no no. I’ve heard this in real life too. Someone with a talent or skill that all of sudden ‘should’ become their income. The light goes out of their eyes, the stress starts and the joy fizzles out.
Why should we place so much pressure on our joys? Why can’t joyful activity be done for the sake of it? Why do we think we all need to make it pay? Great if we can make it pay, great if we can keep it joyful along the way, but if you can’t don’t fret it. Not everyone needs an Etsy shop or a side hustle. As well as killing our joy it also just increases your workload. Now you have to manage the shipping, the website, the supplies…. yawn, yawn….
I recently told a friend to try re-framing the pressure she felt around her Instagram account. I said focus on sharing what makes you happy instead of what you think people will follow. It instantly gave room for joy to grow,
Here’s an idea give your joy away for free, it will amplify the feeling of joy (kindness does that) and you’ll get to connect, share and feel great about yourself. Gift food you love to cook, help write someone a blog post, teach someone a wedding dance.
3) What will they think?
Oh yes, here’s the BIG ONE. Judgement, fitting in, shame, fear, embarrassment, impostor syndrome. All those worries that stop us cold. From the simple things like ‘how do I know which fork to use?’ to ‘people like me shouldn’t do things like this’ and everything in between.
This is where we accept a role. These roles are in opposition to our authentic selves and that’s why we worry about them. There’s always a good time and place for joy. People are allowed to laugh in hospices, they are allowed to hug in funeral parlours, they can even feel wonder at a rainbow from the boardroom window. Joy isn’t dangerous or childish or silly. It’s uplifting and authentic and magical. It’s what we all need more of.
Once you realise joy is the heart of being human, no matter our ages or roles, then you open up to a whole world of wonder. One person’s joy may not be another’s but don’t let that stop you!
Care less about what they think and care more about enjoying your joy.
Why not go do something joyful right now? Turn on the tunes, dance around the kitchen, eat some gooey chocolate, cuddle your kids, kick a ball. whatever it is - act on it! Don’t let your restrictive beliefs hold you back.
Enjoy your joy! It is yours, after all.
Kelly Herrick is a creator & collaborator who helps people access more freedom & joy. She is also the strategic lead in an international design agency, a painter and mum of two boys.