So often, we think we have to defend ourselves from or fight negativity. Suppose it could be easier?
Negativity is how fear-based thinking shows up in the world, and since fear-based thinking has been our anchor for thousands of years, it is what we are used to. It also does not feel quite right, which is why when it shows up in our lives, we want to fight it. However, because fear-based thinking has been a foundation of human culture for so long, challenging it directly often does not bring us the change we seek. We need a new way that a joy-based approach offers us.
Let’s explore why that is.
Fear Shuts Down; Joy Opens Up
Fear is commonly used to shut down conversations and change, even necessary ones. Fear gives us a reason to say no to something or someone without being direct or even accountable. Fear is an important emotion, useful for focusing our attention when we are in danger, according to Karla McLaren, an expert on emotions. Fear is meant to keep us safe, but if it is a knee-jerk reaction to anything new or any change, it loses its usefulness.
Joy, on the other hand, opens us to possibility. It is not rigid, so it looks for the possibility that serves the greatest well-being. Joy, as described by Karla Mclaren, is an energy of connection to others and nature. It is both inspirational and closely aligned with contentment. It is expansive and generous at the same time. It is a very useful energy for serving the common good.
Joy Is Win-Win-Win
Fear sees potential loss and creates strategies to avoid that loss. When we create joy, we are not thinking in terms of loss. Our objective is to find approaches that “make the best of things” and serve the highest and best good. The beauty of creating joy is that no matter the present circumstances, we can make the best of any situation for ourselves and others. Even in difficult times, we can seek to make the best of a situation and help others do the same. There is real joy in knowing that we are doing so. Whether comforting a friend who has experienced a loss or taking good care of ourselves so we can be more joy creating, a joy-focused life helps us all live better and easier.
Joy helps us be more long-sighted. It reduces conflict because it seeks answers that make life work now and in the future, so it will not mortgage the future to pay for a party today.
Joy Is Wise
Joy is not pollyannish. It is not toxic positivity which is a reaction to toxic negativity. Joy is naturally constructive and, therefore, serves the greatest good in good times and bad. Joy seeks the common and natural good, which can help us make wise choices. Because joy seeks the greatest good, it is a low-conflict approach to problem-solving. Joy minimizes adversity without sacrificing quality of life.
Joy is deeper than happiness or fun. It has a deeper connection with the good in life which makes it especially useful for generating high well-being.
Joy Is An Intelligence
Joy is our natural state, and it can inform us if we allow it to. Because joy connects us with our inner life, other people, all of life, and all of the good in the world, it provides us with an awareness and appreciation of all of the good in the world and all the resources we have available to us. At this time when natural resources are strained by overconsumption, joy can help us be resource smart and use our resources wisely. Joy is an ecological energy; it serves and reflects our personal and ecological health.
Joy is a great gauge of well-being: ours, others, and our natural and human systems.
Joy Is Friendly
Since joy is a connecting energy, it is also a friendly one. It helps us to be friendly to ourselves and any wounds that need healing. It helps us reframe and transform our choices, so they are truly friendly. A great example is the issue of self-care. Self-care is often framed as self-indulgence or even irresponsible. However, if you consider how excellent self-care means that you are healthier, then you can see how you are not unnecessarily consuming health care resources, so the resources can then be used for those who need them most. You may also notice that the better you take care of yourself, the more energy you have to create joy in the world which everyone benefits from.
Joy lets you reconsider mindsets around sacrifice and make new choices that benefit everyone.
A Joy-Based Life Releases You From The Gravitational Pull Of Negativity.
Since negativity is a mindset and a defense against change, one that has been established and reinforced over centuries, it can seem so much the norm that change is impossible. Not so! We are living in an amazing time when negativity is being challenged in many ways. So many people are investing in their learning, skill-building, and healing which is one way we create space for joy-based living.
What is so interesting about joy-based living is that it makes negativity irrelevant. Negativity is a pattern people use when they want to avoid change, and joy is an energy that engages in life for the benefit of everyone. Which one do you think is most appropriate for these times? Which do you prefer for yourself?