Hannah was in an unusually joyful mood yesterday following a bang up performance at school and being chosen for a special “Drama Day” presentation next week. Then she decided to look at the grade portal to see what she made on her math test.
“Don’t do it,” I warned.
“I just want to know,” she said.
“But why? Why do we need to know that right now? Just be happy for the happiness,” I advised.
She looked anyway. And it wasn’t good.
“I shouldn’t have looked,” she admitted. “What does Brené Brown say about being afraid of experiencing joy?”
“She says we are all afraid to lean into the joy too hard because we are afraid it will be taken away. I wish you would have just let yourself be happy without feeling the need to thwart it with math. We don’t need to know about math today!” I said.
I felt like she was trying to head the joy off at the pass. The self sabotaging we all do, consciously and unconsciously. When we lose our tolerance for vulnerability (“Don’t get too excited, this thing might be taken away”), our joy becomes foreboding. We are always trying to dress rehearse for tragedy …trying to beat vulnerability to the punch.
“Yeah. Oh well there’s nothing I can do about it anyway,” she replied.
Driving, driving, driving. We stop at a light next to some gorgeous flower beds.
“Look at those pretty flowers,” I pointed out to her, changing the subject.
“Flowers don’t have to do math,” she mused.
“Yeah they just get to hang out in the sunshine, look at the sky all day and be admired,” I added. “But I bet it gets super hot. And what if you’re trapped there with other jerk flowers you don’t like. And I bet you have to hear the same conversations over and over again.”
“Kinda like at school,” she said.
Kinda like life, I thought. But we won’t let that get in the way of our joy! Long live JOY!
Have you ever stifled your joy? Or thought about what might go wrong to ruin it?