It is possible that I derailed the joy train a bit last week.
Acknowledged, AND… #sorrynotsorry.
Sometimes you simply need to let out that bit of vulnerability. It creates some clarity around what is or is becoming important to you, even as it’s shared a bit publicly…
Anyway, let’s make our way back to that train’s tracks, shall we?
In part, joy is attained and encapsulated through our satisfaction; satisfaction with our lives and our selves. It is much easier to activate joy when we are happy with our lives.
I realize this part is a sort of “duh!” moment… but there is more.
Let’s flip that point around, to where it is much harder to activate joy when life is not where you hoped it to be; or worse: there is an aspect of your life or self that you actually loathe, whether you feel there’s hope to change it or not. I have had intense disdain for characteristics I felt made me a less desirable person. I still deal with moments of shame, and yet working on the disdain part has been fulfilling in many ways. Take, for example, my incredible depth of impulsivity. Some, like me, may have felt my impulsive nature meant a total lack of control, a hassle in doing or saying things out of the ordinary, self-injurious, or even dangerous. For me, a lot of it had to do with spending money, even when I didn’t have very much at all.
In these moments, I got a rush – a small one – from the desire of buying, a larger one from simply seeking out the item, and a mega one from purchasing. Afterwards, however, there were the moments of regret, which tended to come at an alarming pace. I felt guilty and shameful. This made me wonder whether all of my impulsive moments were simply a terrible and negative characteristic I held. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t dangerous, harmful to anyone, or overly negative. For this reason, it was a good candidate for a reframe. Reframing is the act of taking a negative thought or spoken phrase about yourself or someone else and flipping it around to be either positive or more strength-based. How do we do that? Let’s take a look and try it together.
Using my own thoughts as an example, we can do the following to reframe negative thoughts:
- Reflect on the negative thought, why it comes up, and any “evidence” behind it.
- Try ‘changing the narrative’ for that thought, by coming up with positive, or strengths-based, ideas for the same thought, with supporting, positive evidence.
- Insert the self-hope and love we so desperately need to activate our joy.
- Maintain the positive thoughts to acknowledge positive characteristics and/or change any negative or hurtful thoughts or actions towards good.
Reflection with Evidence
For what reason was I continuing to buy so much and feeling such a “high” off the purchases? I realized it wasn’t necessarily the purchased item itself that was making me feel so enthralled… because, in actuality, a lot of what I was buying was a gift for someone I cared about in many ways. The blanket for the friend living on the street in New York City, the photo album for my niece’s family, the book that challenged me in many ways that I wanted to them share with a good friend. Gifts, I find, are my giving love language, and it becomes increasingly harder to keep from showing that love to others in my favorite ways.
Changing the Narrative
So, instead of being incredibly “impulsive” and out of control, I was showing my love in the way that came most naturally to me. Giving is a part of activating joy, in my necessary framework on the theme. Therefore, I was finding a coherent way to activate my joy, even though, in some cases, it wasn’t the best or most beneficial option for me, specifically. But in this step, I get to realize how fully I am leaning into the activation of my joy…
Self-Hope, Self-Love, and Activating Joy
Giving love for me, is a way of getting love. I don’t necessarily need to feel it reciprocated, because the love of giving is so impactful for me. Knowing that I am doing something kind for others is a good way for me to find the way back to hope and love in my heart. I realize, in many ways, I am a good person. I do my best to show that, for me.
Maintaining Positive Thought
Now, there are times when I can’t actually afford to buy a gift for someone else. This is where there is still a problem that has set in. For this reason, I still had a slight dilemma to solve, even though it wasn’t necessarily something of which I need be too ashamed. I found the solution in buying and making cards. Instead of bought, elaborate gifts, I could send a card to say what I wanted and express my love or gratitude or emotions to and for the other person. I now have a large stack of cards that I have bought for the exact purpose of showing love without spending money I don’t have.
Reframing can be a powerful tool in your arsenal against shame and self-loathing. It has helped me in more than this one way and is something I suggest you start right away. What is a characteristic you have not always been proud of – physical, action-oriented, or mental – and how can you reframe it to be either a bit more positive, or more of a strength? Always know you are human and not perfect; and yet you are also created in and for love. Activate that joy, Y’all! You deserve it!
Always feel free to call on me as a resource to think on these things. Would love to hear from you!
~Watch out for a restart of my Joy Moment of the Week Videos!!! Illness, step aside!! 😉 ~