If you starve yourself of joy, the best way to combat this tendency is to practice gratitude. Here’s what I learned in chapter 4: The Vulnerability Armor of Daring Greatly.
In a culture of deep scarcity–of never feeling safe, certain, and sure enough–joy can feel like a setup. 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, disaster is right around the corner.
Hold the phone. Other people do this, too? You mean my secret (subconscious?) way of dealing with the too good vibes isn’t an original plan? You’re telling me this is one of the three ways people evade vulnerability and I fit into one of those damn boxes!?
To be honest, I don’t know if I’m more annoyed that a STRANGER is calling my shit out or that I’m becoming an annoying Brene Brown Superfan. Ooh! Or that I’m not as original or skilled at dodging emotions as I thought an hour ago.
So here are the three types of ways people shield vulnerability.
- Foreboding Joy – never allowing yourself to feel joyful because you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.
- Perfectionism – the belief that if you look and act perfectly it will help you avoid pain and /or shame.
- Numbing – dulling our emotions, personal feelings, and being a busy-holic to avoid what’s at the root of your own personal problems.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who has figured out how to shield vulnerability by foreboding joy. Except I didn’t know that’s what I was doing until page 119 in Daring Greatly. #smdh
Do you do this, too? The second you feel too happy, too joyful, or too good, you immediately stop, drop, and let your imagination run to all the worst possible scenarios that could jeopardize the joy your feeling moments before your head takes over?
You can’t see me, but I’m raising my hand in solidarity (actually I’m raising both damn hands) because I’m so suspect of good vibes I believe I’m actually un-jinxing it by worrying about all the potential bad.
Never do I ever want to be unprepared for ‘what’s the worst that could happen?” Hands down my number one fear. Well, it’s tied for first apparently. Vulnerability is trying to take the trophy.
What makes you feel vulnerable? Give yourself a second to think about it…then scroll to hear mine.
Love makes me feel vulnerable. I don’t want to love anyone or anyone to love me, that way if something bad happens (divorce, death) it’s easier to recover.
Being pregnant. You’re not out running danger or anyone trying to harm you while 8-months preggers. And it’s quite obvious you’re vulnerable, no hiding it.
Too many good occurrences happening all at once or systematically. Shit like that doesn’t happen to me, the shoe always drops so don’t enjoy it for too long because when it does hit the fan, it’ll be harder to recover.
I used to think the best way to go through life was to expect the worst. 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, ecpecting the worst didn’t repare me at all. And worse, I still grieve for all those wonderful moments we shared, that I didn’t fully enjoy.
– A man in his early sixties, Daring Greatly pg. 120
I don’t want to starve myself of joy and according to my boo Brown, the best way to turn the tables on foreboding joy is by practicing gratitude.
When I first read the bolded title, I snorted. Like, I am grateful. I don’t live on the streets, in a third-world country or in Russia, so how the hell else am I’m going to be grateful?
Nope, missed the point.
This is how I interpreted it: Yes, there are others in worse situations than you, but you are ENOUGH and deserve to feel gratitude for your own life. She recommends keeping a gratitude journal and making an entry once a day. This way you practice appreciating all of life’s big and small moments.
There are only two days in my entire life that I can whole-heartily say nothing could touch me because I was on cloud nine and truly enjoying the joy. Those two days were my wedding day and when I graduated college.
I don’t want to die and only be able to actually feel only two days of joy out of my entire life. So as ridiculous as it sounds to me, I’m going to start a gratitude journal (better than a food journal, right?) and acknowledge gratitude at the end of each blog.
Keep me accountable 😉
Currently feeling grateful for: the hot tub at my apartment. It's the only place the Hubs and I can communicate effectively with no distractions.
What are you grateful for today?