Joy vs. Happiness

I always thought one was synonymous for the other, interchangeable. As I grow in my own journey, I have been gifted a higher level of understanding as it relates to joy and happiness.

For most of my life, I’ve only caught glimpses of happiness. I wrestled with my own mental health issues, childhood trauma, mommy/daddy issues to name a few things. I allowed these things act as a veil that prevented me from truly seeing, feeling, and experiencing life. Not only that, but this baggage kept me bogged down, heavy, weighty and depressed. At times, even when I felt happy, deep down in the most innermost part of my being, I still felt that sadness, like a gentle lull whispering in the background of my life. Happiness slipped through my hands like sand. I never knew how, where, when to grab it.

The past 8 months have been transformative, healing for me. Through therapy, journalling, changing some life practices, and setting boundaries, I have been able to etch away at that deep gnawing feeling. I have been able to scrap at it, grain by grain. Through this, I have been afforded the opportunity to experience joy.

I’ve been looking at pictures of myself lately and can’t believe how genuinely happy I look. Not that fake smile because I’m being asked to take a picture, but cheesing like I’ve won a billion dollars, because I have. I have a second chance at life. A new opportunity to see, taste, smell, feel life. I’m glowing. Its joy.

That deep gnawing feeling carved out room for joy just like Gibran predicted. Left just enough room for me to be inundated with joy. Like dancing when I wake up, full of gratitude, smiling when my life is literally at the biggest crossroad I’ve ever faced, kind of joy..

I see so much purpose in my life experiences so far. My life has been falling apart in order to fall together. Happiness is fading. Its temperamental and completely based on circumstance& people. It comes and goes. But, joy. Joy is deep. It emanates from your core. Its not based on circumstances. Its based on something deeper and something higher. It’ll have you vibrating on a higher frequency.

Not to say, that I don’t have moments when I feel disappointed, sad, angry, but underneath that, is not this gnawing sadness/depression, its joy. My default is joy. I chose to heal and process pain, emotions, and traumatic experiences. I chose to realize that those emotions will ebb and flow, but my joy is lasting. I feel peace because I know my steps are ordered. I have so much love in my heart because the Universe conspires for my good. I have joy because The Creator of the Universe loves me.

 

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Honor Thyself: Feelings

No one ever taught me this. I’ve read it in books, articles,but how do you live this out?

How do I honor myself?

Well first, I’ll start with what my therapist said yesterday, ” You need to honor yourself, by honoring your feelings.”

In my head I’m thinking, “Girl, do you know how many feelings I feel in one day, in a week, in a month? ” I don’t know what that looks like. I’ve never been taught how to do that.

Honor your thoughts: I had done a really good job of pushing thoughts aside, almost like a rolodex. If I didn’t like the thought because I anticipated the feelings it would bring, I’d simply push ignore and slide left.I didn’t trust myself with those thoughts. I didn’t trust my Spirit and mind enough to honor the thoughts that did cross my mind. And by honor, I simply mean acknowledge. Acknowledging a thought doesn’t mean I’m agreeing with it, making it my truth, or living/dying by it, it just means it popped up and I acknowledge that its there. In truth, whether I acknowledge it or not, it will be there.

1. Acknowledge how you feel. (Feelings follow thoughts; not the other way around. I can’t feel any way without first having a thought to base that feeling off of. Don’t Sweat The Small things really hones in on this. He gives the example: Try to get angry. You can’t, not without a preceding thought.) I had also perfected ignoring my feelings. Ignoring the way fear manifested as anxiety and gnawed away at my core. I ignored the pain. Thinking that if I acknowledged it, it would make me weak.It doesn’t. I know myself better because of practicing this consistently.

2.Speak your truth (feelings.) I will not apologize for how I feel. I will not be talked out of how I feel. I will share how I feel to myself and others (aloud.) I will not fight to share my feelings with others. If you don’t want to hear how I feel, than obviously we have no business in another’s lives so either I/you need to step. Emotions are important. They make us human.

3. Don’t create a hierarchy of emotions. No one emotion is better than the other. There is no good or bad emotion/feeling. The emotions are simply traffic signals, showing you how a particular situation/person is making you feel. They all have a purpose and I believe that purpose is ultimately for our good so there is no good/bad feeling. They are all honest and genuine feelings so why discredit them?

4. Don’t try to change your feelings. Don’t try to talk yourself out of them. Talk yourself through them. Let them sit there, live..if only for a little while. Let them flow through you. Don’t get too attached to any one feeling. They are fleeting. They change and move.

This is not an exhaustive list, but its a good starting point, for me at least. I’d love to hear your thoughts. How do you honor your feelings?