As I’ve created the life of my dreams, living in Mexico on a beach and working remotely doing the work I’m meant to do; Work that is fulfilling and meaningful and energizing, I find myself confronting what I call the “Joy Lid.”
One thing that I uncovered over my journey of healing my father wound is how I had shut down many of my emotions, especially anger and sadness. I even remember choosing to no longer be angry about my father not being there around the age of 13. As you can imagine, a little boy who never knew his father, I was deeply saddened and angry, but until years later really had no idea. From my work with a therapist, I realized that this is what kids do when they have emotions that are too powerful or complex to deal with at a young age. In some ways, I find it comical that I actually believed I had no emotion about not having a Dad.
The other thing I have learned and experienced firsthand is that when you shut down emotions on one end of the spectrum, such as sadness and anger, you equally and automatically shut down emotions on the other end of the spectrum, such as joy and connection.
I call this the Joy Lid and I’ve been confronting this again the last few weeks. Like you, perhaps, I again thought I had gotten through this, that I had opened up my heart to all of my emotions and thus had broken through the Joy Lid and put that stuff behind me. Well, like most human being things, nothing is ever done, it’s just a constant practice.
The last few weeks I’ve really had to challenge myself to en-joy the life I’ve created and to intentionally practice celebrating the life of my dreams.
If you notice that you have a Joy Lid, consider taking on some of these practices:
- Practice expressing your emotions on purpose. If you notice a hint of anger, express it in a healthy way. Scream every curse word you know as angrily and loudly as possible when you are alone in your car. Break some bottles in a dumpster or punch a pillow. For sadness, watch a movie that you know makes you sad and allow yourself to express the emotions of sadness that it stirs up.
- Celebrate intentionally even when it feels like you don’t deserve it and it is stupid. The more you practice celebrating, the more facility you will have with joy.
All of these will immediately loosen the lid on your joy.