Let’s look at strokes. We train or condition people with strokes, which is a kind of energetic lobbying from those around us and which engages us at some level. When we are being stroked, we are being pushed in a particular direction or blocked from another. We are also encouraged to fear the consequences if we do not go along so that we will go along. Bullying works this way.
Pleasant strokes come from acceptance, and unpleasant strokes signal a rejection of some kind. The human world is drowning in constant strokes of one kind or another through advertising, social media, and direct interactions. It is too much, and the negativity in much of it brings people down and affects their mental health. Those who want to control others can benefit from this intense negativity because it can be very controlling, but as individuals, we need to get a handle on these strokes and their agendas, especially since they are socially generated to get our compliance but not necessarily related to our real needs.
Strokes are often the product of a fear-based world. They can be manipulative and dishonest. If we are creating a world based on joy, we have less of a need for the manipulative stroking of the fear-based world. So shifting your intention, focus, and action to joy, helps you disconnect from the messages and strokes meant to control you. You then can claim your personal sovereignty in a way not available otherwise. You can do that because you are connecting the good in you with the world.
Strokes Are Often About Safety
When we get strokes, we are being told what will or will not be accepted. These strokes are often based on old ideas which may or may not have been relevant in the past but are often not appropriate today. Much approval/disapproval stroking is not present to the current realities. They are meant to reinforce and preserve old social and cultural standards. They can often be just an expression of bias or demand to be catered to.
Most people want and need safety in life, at least to some degree. Strokes can also come from perceptions about what is safe or not, and depending on someone’s perspective or experience with safety, the feedback we get can be all over the map.
It is important to take strokes with a grain of salt. It also helps to notice the kinds of strokes someone gives or doesn’t give. You can learn a lot about someone that way. You can let joy inform you about what is healthy or unhealthy stroking. Joy is an expansive and health-creating energy; let it help you. You can feel in your body when it is there and when it is not. In this way, a joy practice helps you stay grounded and constructive.
Joy Makes Stroking Friendly And Non-Harming
Joy, by its very nature, is friendly and constructive. It is interested in the common good. Therefore, it releases manipulative stroking because the negativity of it gets in the way of thriving. It is not needed. In essence, joy can help us simplify our lives by helping us take back our energy from those manipulating us against our own interests. That is an important role that joy offers us. Not only will we thrive more, but we can also protect ourselves from more exploitative forces around us.
Joy is energetically happier, certainly happier than the manipulative stroking that we get a lot of. Joy is the feeling of rightness. It comes from the harmony between ourselves, others, and the world. What is right is not just a mental or social construct, and as long as we continue to force false definitions of rightness, we will never get beyond all of the war and conflict destroying the world.
When your energy is clear, it recognizes when something is right and when it is off. When you are trying to solve a problem, you can feel energetically when a solution is right; there is a harmony that the chosen solution brings to you and others. You can feel it and experience it. It brings a natural delight. When you get that feeling, you actually feel freer. Something that was bothering you was released. A bottleneck of some kind was resolved. When joy is used in this constructive way, we have an easier time living in a state of flow and resolving issues that prevent us from doing so.
Flow And Delight
When you use joy as an anchor and a practice, you are serving not just your interests but you are bringing what you have to offer to the common good. That intention alone releases fears that can cause manipulation and is a wonderful way to live. We are happy with ourselves when we do that, and that quality of delight that we have in how we are living becomes the self-love that we all seek. It is a gift we can give ourselves when we cultivate joy in ourselves and the world around us.
Joy should not be trivialized as just a good feeling. When joy is our focus and intention, what we are creating and promoting is quality of life for ourselves and others. It makes our actions automatically caring and constructive, and as a result, we can feel lighter and happier with ourselves. We all deserve it.
Many if not most of us have experienced the negative effects of manipulative stroking and the inner pain from feeling unseen and unloved as a result. Let joy help you reclaim your joy by helping you let go of these old and unloving messages and ways. It takes some time and rearranging to fully put yourself on a joy path. There are usually many things to let go of, and the simplification process can take some time, but that is a good thing because it provides you with an adjustment period for the changes you are making. I hope you will consider this valuable path and make a joy practice a gift you give yourself.