Let’s talk about it.
But you already knew that. You’ve lived it.
And even if you don’t have an eating disorder, there are other culprits in your life that try to steal your joy: busyness, competitive natures, jealousy, comparisons, perfectionism, self-doubt, anxiety, fear, I could go on and on, all trying to steal your joy.
But with anorexia and eating disorders, such a huge aspect of the disease is denying yourself joy: whether that be the joy of experiencing delicious and nourishing foods, the joy of spending time with loved ones, being gentle with yourself, relaxing, giving of your time, giving of your heart, treating yourself to things – either new clothes, a special outing, a dessert, etc. Long story short: joy was always denied. Because allowing yourself to experience joy would show too much self-love.
So when you’re in recovery, one of the most important things to reintroduce to your life is joy.
And this is something that I am definitely still working on.
You see, there’s a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is a fleeting emotion, where joy is a deep, soul-level experience. You can be happy for a number of reasons. You can be happy because the Bachelorette finale was on. You can be happy that you’re favorite song is on the radio. You can be happy that it’s summer and you don’t have school. But joy is different. True joy comes from the heart.
And therefore, experiencing joy goes hand-in-hand with loving yourself. For in order to allow your heart to experience joy, you have to first allow your heart to experience self-love.
I know, this is getting a little deep for a weeknight. But this is something that is very important.
Because for all that time when you were in your disease, you were denying yourself joy. And let’s face it: joy is central to who you are, and who you are to become.
So that’s why it is vital for recovery. It is so important to incorporate joy back in your life, both as a way to show yourself love, and also as a way to fall in love with life again — because that will allow you to truly bloom.
Proverbs 17: “A joyful heart is good medicine.”
So what is joy?
Joy is giving of your time or your talents freely. Without expecting anything in return. Because you love people and you acknowledge that you have something to offer the world.
Joy is being there for a friend when they need it most, and letting them be there for you.
Joy is recognizing that you are loved, and allowing that state of love to influence your decisions and your outlook.
Joy is dancing to a song because you are full of life and your spirit is alive.
Joy is treating yourself to something special because you are worth it.
Joy is loving yourself.
Joy is forgiving yourself.
These actions communicate to yourself that you love yourself. That you believe in your value and worth. That you are worth joy.
I am still working on this. And my challenge to you – and myself – is to push myself to do just one thing today — in the next hour — to show myself joy. If you want to get really crazy, try for two!
Let’s choose joy. Because the truth of the matter is that you are worth joy. And your life is worth rejoicing.
Let’s have a joyful week.