When you stop long enough to take a breath, do you look around and say, YES! This is it! Exactly how I pictured my life – OR better yet, this is even BETTER than I imagined my life could be! Could you stay in that feeling of joy you were feeling for any length of time before circumstances distracted you into being worried, depressed, guilty, angry…
Have you found a time when something was going great, you felt amazing joy, but your next thought was, uh oh, what’s going to happen next to screw this up? Will you have a huge bill so that the cash windfall is gone; you get laid off at the office, or your spouse/partner cheats on you?
Why do we do this? It seems like we will only allow ourselves just so much joy before we hit our limit, and some people’s joy ceiling is awfully low. It’s like too much joy is illegal – we expect the worst after we reach our joy limit – like the happy police will arrest us.
Can you see that these are just past insecurities showing up? If as a child you were playing with a favorite toy and it was taken away or the ice cream cone you were enjoying suddenly fell on the ground, your joy was interrupted. If it happens enough, you understand that there is only so much joy you are allowed before something bad will happen.
So what can we do? Our first step is deciding how much of the time you feel joy. On a scale of 1 to 100%. What percentage of your life do you feel joy? Feel into it. Are you joyful 5% of the time? Or maybe 10 or 15%? Once you are satisfied that the percentage feels right, close your eyes and feel what it feels like having 5% or 10% (or whatever % it is) of joy in your life – that means 95% or 90% of no joy. Do not judge yourself. Just feel into that feeling. Adjust your percentage until it feels right for you. Once you are there, just imagine what just 1% of more joy a week would do for you. If you can choose joy just 1% more of the time every week from where you were, by the end of a year you will be more than 50% more joyful, grateful and satisfied with your life. Even if you only increase your joy 1% a month, you will be surprised how different you feel in a year’s time. Interrupt your cycle of fear, doubt, blame, worry, etc., and take a moment to find again that space of joy inside of you. Don’t limit your joy – Choose to allow in just 1% more!