What can get in the way of connecting to your joy?

Some people, it seems, find it hard to be happy – they are happy being miserable! Never satisfied with the status quo, never one hundred per cent at home anywhere, always worrying about this or that. They might not like to admit it, however, what lies underneath is a belief they should have or be more, they don’t feel recognised.

And, in order to get a sense of recognition, they may develop the habit of trying to do things properly, to get things right in order to look good and feel self-important, to be accepted and liked. People pleasing is one such behaviour.

Is this you?

People-pleasers often think they are being kind. They justify their way of behaving as thinking of others first, wanting to make others happy. They might say ‘I don’t want to be selfish’. In truth, people-pleasing is ALL about self, about wanting to feel good, important, loved. And, it comes from a lack of trust, a lack of belief in self.

Some signs that you may be trying too hard to please others –  apologising too often, feeling responsible for how others feel, unable to say ‘no’, being so busy you end up exhausted and feeling like a slave, feeling uncomfortable when someone is angry….

When you accept who you are, you have no need to feel important. When you enjoy being who you are, you don’t care if others think that you’re important or not – what other people choose to think is irrelevant.

When you believe you ‘deserve better than this’, its destructive because, as long as this is what you believe, you can never find joy as a consequence of being who you be.

The way to shift your energy is to find the heart of who you are, the diamond within yourself. Connect to your soul, why you are here, focus on your purpose, and you will experience the joy of seeing others find their joy.

True joy

In our last blog, we touched on the topic of choosing to be joyful rather than be angry and reactive, or, live in grief and pain. What is joy? Thinking of joy, we might remember occasions when we felt really happy, when we felt a sense of sheer delight. Perhaps when we… received a gift, or some words, that touched our heart….savoured a great meal, superb wine, enjoyed fun company…when we connected with somewhere special in nature. These moments of happiness tend to be fleeting and are dependent on something external to us.

True joy is who we are, it’s our natural state of being. It’s quiet, peaceful, knowing, regardless of what’s happening externally. We find it when we connect to the diamond within our heart, when we listen our soul, whose role is to guide us, to help us empower our self so we can serve others. We find it when we let go of expectations, fears and judgements, when we’re happy to be who we are, warts and all, when we respond rather than react to life and accept what is.

Our heart, John the Beloved tells us, is “The wellspring of joy. When your heart is engaged, when it’s open, it’s not about emotion, it’s about joy”. There’s no emotion when we’re connected – our soul doesn’t have feelings, its an energy.

If we want to be real, there will be times when we feel grumpy and that’s ok. However, if we feel our energy is heavy and sense its having an impact on others, we can go to a memory, a time, when we felt uplifted, feel it, and take that feeling into our day. Going a step further, we can align with our soul, and connect to our inner joy. The joy of embracing everything and allowing everything to come to you.

Remember diamonds bring joy to others through their brilliance!

Choose joy!

Learning to respond rather than react  – how do you do that, you might ask?  It’s all about managing our emotions, then taking responsiblity and focusing on how we want to be.

Unless we had an extraordinary parent or teacher, most of us don’t learn to manage and process our feelings. It’s normal to be frightened of feeling vulnerable. So, our personality creates a pattern to help us feel safe and avoid certain feelings. The only thing is… that pattern which comes from fear can impact or even harm others.

If we want to change it, it’s a good idea to learn to pause, let the reaction go, then open our heart and ask what matters, how can we respond in a wise and compassionate way according to our commitments. Only through accessing our Essential Nature can we be authentic.

The first thing is to be aware when we feel upset and acknowledge our feelings. Here’s a little formula from Fearless Living that you can use, it’s called the 4 A’s:

Acknowledge your feelings – identify them – no judgement

Allow yourself time to process (observe what you’re thinking)

Ask your intuition what you’re committed to

Act – based on your intent

When doing this work, it does help to understand what tweaks your buttons, what upsets you. What do you complain about most? D’you find yourself irritated by people who are selfish, weak, lazy, arrogant, mean controlling….something else?

Is there any possibility that this could be within you and that you soul is asking you to see this, resolve it and to move on? Could this be an opportunity to grow? If, for example you discover that there is anger within you, something you often mask, what if… you could address it by accepting that it’s there, it’s something you’ve acquired as a consequence of experiences, however you want to feel joyful and light-hearted so this is how you’re going to be instead? Once we accept denied aspects within ourself, it’s easy to accept and feel compassion for others.

D’you react or respond?

What’s your way – d’you tend to react, or, respond to life?

Recently we’ve been looking at how expectations can result in frustration and disappointment, at how the beliefs that fuel our expectations keep us in a box, limiting our choices.

When we don’t achieve the outcome we planned, when things don’t happen just when we want, it’s all too easy to react with anger and impatience – and that energy has impact on everyone around us. A negative impact.

What would it mean to you to let go of control? How d’you imagine that might look?  Chaos?!  What if…in fact… it meant the opposite…that it would allow you to open up to possibilities, to be spontaneous and in the moment, that life would become an adventure full of surprises?

What stops us from letting go of control? Often, we think that we know best, we know what we want and that’s that! What if the Universe has other ideas, ideas way beyond your imagination that could bring a mountain of joy?

When we insist on doing things ‘my way’, that closes us off to collaboration, it separates us from others.

Of course, there are so many things that we can’t control in life – the weather, the internet, financial markets, what other people say, think or do. So, the idea of being in control is in fact an illusion. It’s a mechanism we create when we don’t trust ourselves to respond to life, often as a means of coping when we’ve been hurt.

A wise and loving being asked me recently –

“Has your ability to control delivered for you the outcomes you wished?”

The answer to that was a resounding ‘No’!

So, next time you find yourself feeling impatient, I challenge you to understand what your expectation is, then, to pause, and ask ‘Is there a higher purpose to what is occurring? Is the delay perhaps because this is not the time or the next step?’

When we wait to respond, we respect that there may be pieces we’re not yet aware of that need to unfold first.

Loving messages

How aware are you of the messages you give to your children?

How do you show delight in your child?

We all know that our children feel valued and loved when we give them our warmth, love and attention and show delight in who they are. Self confidence comes from positive, encouraging messages, especially when they feel frightened or are doing something new.

How often however do we, without thinking, give ‘don’t’ messages to our children? How often do we say “don’t be… selfish, stubborn, lazy, angry, sad…..whatever”? When we do this, the impression can be that certain aspects of who they be are not acceptable.

These ‘don’t’ messages come from our beliefs and perspectives which motivate the way we live. Beliefs are limiting, so it’s important to understand why they are there. Rather than say “don’t be lazy”, how would it be to take time and teach your child the benefits of self-discipline and persistence? Instead of saying “don’t be angry”, how would it be to encourage them to talk about what is going on for them? And listen.

When we don’t understand our beliefs, we go through life reacting unconsciously rather than being responsive to the world.

We live today in a competitive world in which our children tend to be measured by academic success. Society is materialistic, and many are fearful about a lack of money. It’s therefore all too easy as parents to place the emphasis on academic learning rather than creativity, having fun, doing whatever brings us joy.

By spending time together, we get to understand our children’s passions and uniqueness.  So, it’s great to make time to join in your children’s favourite activities, to listen when they want to talk, be in the moment together even if it’s simply to look at a hungry caterpillar.

When we stifle creativity, when we’re too busy to have fun, we unconsciously give the message that we don’t love and accept our child just as they are.

Play is the core of creative life. So, encourage dressing up, music, messy play, inviting an imaginary friend to the table, exploring their senses….