Not much to volunteer here, except an excerpt from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Vulnerability, it seems, is key to opening. How do I practice this?
“It wasn’t just the relationship between joy and gratitude that took me by surprise. I was also startled by the fact that research participants consistently described both joyfulness and gratitude as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human connectedness and a power greater than us. Their stories and descriptions expanded on this, pointing to a clear distinction between happiness and joy. Participants described happiness as an emotion that’s connected to circumstances, and they described joy as a spiritual way of engaging with the world that’s connected to practicing gratitude. While I was initially taken aback by the relationship between joy and vulnerability, it now makes perfect sense to me, and I can see why gratitude would be the antidote to foreboding joy.”
The author uses the term foreboding joy to describe when someone is joyful but then immediately stops themselves from feeling that because of they don’t want to feel the vulnerability of joy. A sort of fear of letting go of fear, so that you’re not caught off guard by something bad happening.
While we’re at it, here’s a few more excerpts from a few pages back:
“In a culture of deep scarcity–of never feeling safe, certain, and sure enough–joy can feel like a setup. We wake up in the morning and think, ‘Work is going well. Everyone in the family is healthy. No major crises are happening. The house is still standing. I’m working out and feeling good. Oh, shit. This is bad. This is really bad. Disaster must be lurking right around the corner.'”
“A man in his early sixties told me, ‘I used to think the best way to go through life was to expect the worse. That way, if it happened, you were prepared, and if it didn’t happen, you were pleasantly surprised. Then I was in a car accident and my wife was killed. Needless to say, expecting the worst didn’t prepare me at all. And worse, I still grieve for all of those wonderful moments we shared and that I didn’t fully enjoy. My commitment to her is to fully enjoy every moment now. I just wish she was here, now that I know how to do that.'”
Maybe a life where everything is going well is not really our situation right now, or maybe it is. Either way, vulnerability seems to be a key to opening up and expressing your truer self, my truer self. Dropping the armor, personas, and letting yourself shine.
I guess I did have a little to share. And the author does offer gratitude as a way to feel the vulnerability of joy.