American novelist Anne Lamott once stated, “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don’t give up.”
We’re all after that search for happiness, but what most people don’t realize is that it’s all within us. Sure, that probably sounds quite dreamy, but in reality, we all have a choice to make – and we can either build up pressure through lofting up high expectations, or we can take things step by step, day by day, and sail through the changes that lie ahead. Joy brings us great feelings of pleasure and happiness, but how can we truly come to feel and appreciate those moments if we don’t allow ourselves to work through pain, anger and sadness?
In the book, The Gift of Recovery: 52 Mindful Ways to Live Joyfully Beyond Addiction, the authors recommend allowing yourself to get comfortable with your moods. Life circumstances change and while we can’t predict the outside, we can remain steady with the inside. We can adjust our sails accordingly, as we navigate the weather of our lives. Most people would associate joy with smiling and coming to acceptance with whatever occurs in our lives, but perhaps we need to change our perspective: what if joy needs to be associated with allowing ourselves to healthily feel, no matter how “negative” we perceive those feelings to be?
In the book, a person stated, “When I first got sober, I felt bad for feeling bad. I thought a bad mood meant I must be doing something wrong in my recovery.”
Have you ever felt this way before? If so, did you find that this way of thinking led you to more joy, or did it lead you down a path of self-pity and doubt? As you can see, in this instance, it would be much more beneficial to allow ourselves to feel bad – to really explore those feelings and see what’s there – than to mask them, in hopes of magically picking up this so-called “joy”. The answer is quite simple. You’ll never be able to achieve ultimate joy 110% of the time. You can, however, increase your happiness and health in life by doing what speaks to your heart and taking the steps you need to improve what’s around you.
Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.
Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.