What’s your relationship with joy?

Last week I invited you to reflect on your relationship to fear. This week I encourage you to explore your relationship to joy. These are prompts I occasionally ask my clients to help them reflect on their beliefs and ways of being. You may want to add them to your coaching tool kit and offer them to your clients. 

  • What brings you joy at work? And perhaps also outside of work? Which are the conditions in which you experience joy? 
  • What does joy feel like in your body? When you are feeling joy, what goes through your mind? What does your emotional landscape look like when you’re experiencing joy? 
  • How’s your relationship to joy? Does joy feel scary? Elusive? Superfluous and trivial? Something you reach for and grasp onto with an iron grip? 

For me, it’s hard to fully feel joy unless I also welcome and feel fear. They are often entwined because I experience joy as fleeting, something that can be lost or taken. For example, I feel incredible joy when I hug my son. My love for him and pride in him fills me with joy. But then I feel fear, because I know I’ll have to let go, and I know I need to let him go into the world and live his life, and I worry, and the joy shrivels up. To counter this reaction, I do the following: when I hug him, and notice fear arising, I acknowledge the fear, but I don’t let it take over. I use my senses to stay in the moment and feel the joy of my child. 

In my life, I’ve done a lot more exploration of fear than I have of joy. Perhaps because of that, joy (and its cousins: ease, contentment, effervescence, and exhilaration) now calls for my attention. And I’m offering it. It feels good. Joyful. 

P.S.: If you found this helpful (originally sent in my Monday newsletter), would you forward it to a friend or colleague?