Finding Joy in Difficult Times

At a time of so much sadness, it may seem a bit odd to address the topic of joy. In truth, it feels odd. How can I even be thinking of joy at a time like this?

“He who has not looked on Sorrow will never see Joy.” ― Kahlil Gibran

Both my faith and my intellect tell me that joy is always around us. In times of grief or fear or anxiety, joy is often the farthest thing from our minds. But it’s there, waiting for us to find it, even in the darkest hours.

JOYJoy is in the comfort and love shared by others— kind words, a timely smile, a hug, a gracious gesture, the sharing of memories.

Joy is knowing we can bring others that comfort and love every single day.

Sometimes, even when life is swimming along nicely, we tend to push joy away, lest we get too comfortable with the happiness and satisfaction. After all, we’ve experienced hurt before, and it often happened when we least expected it. In “foreboding joy”, as Brené Brown calls it, it’s as if we’re trying to beat disappointment or heartache to the punch.

(Personal example: I’ve done this with every job promotion I ever earned, and I caught myself doing it last week when working on my business website. After a nano-second of joy at the accomplishment, out comes, OMG, what if I’m in over my head! and there goes joy.)

Let’s bring this notion of “foreboding joy” into our weight loss realm. I’ve read many posts and comments over the last month or so in which people are looking at the holidays through a joyless lens. I know I’m going to overeat and feel awful or I’ll never be able to stick to my plan with so many unhealthy foods around!

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown suggests an antidote to “foreboding joy:

“Gratitude is how we acknowledge that there is enough and that we are enough… Joy comes to us in moments – ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” ― Brené Brown

Joy is in savoring our humanness, with all its imperfections, and being aware of and grateful for what we have in this moment.

– To have the freedom to create my own business.

– To be blessed with a family that loves me and accepts my love.

– To have the luxury of an abundance of food, healthy or not.

Yes, these all have the capacity to disappoint me at some point in the future, but in this moment, they are the treasures of a life richly blessed and I am grateful.

More than anything, though, I’m grateful for the knowledge that joy is forever around us, always within reach.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

May we all know joy, gratitude, and peace.

Photo credit: DeBBaKer on Flickr

11 thoughts on “Finding Joy in Difficult Times

  1. May we all know joy, gratitude, and peace.


    Love Brené Brown…she is a prophet for our times. Enoughness, both in terms of who we are and what we have, including food, is pretty much always at the root of weight struggles.

  2. What a wonderful post, Cammy! I didn’t understand the fact that joy is always around me until I started meditating. Sometimes when I meditate, I feel joy. I think it may be because I clear my head of everything and then there’s room for joy that is always there. That being said, I’ve also gotten anxious when meditating! haha I’m a walking conundrum. But I still believe joy is always around me, and I just need to find my way to it. Thanks, Cammy!

  3. This is a beautiful post Cammy. Sometimes we are our own worse enemy. I recently discovered Bene Brown and she has really helped me change the way I look at things.

  4. This is beautiful. It can be so easy to forget to find joy in the little things. I have really had to learn that this year!

  5. Very nice thoughts, Cammy.

    I have found that there is more joy in the ordinary moments of life if I will just take the time to notice.

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