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Not letting myself feel joy

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Tc35, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. Tc35

    Tc35 New Member

    Hi everyone I’d appreciate any advice. For so long I’ve been trying to figure out what emotions I’m suppressing and I had a thought come to me yesterday that I suppress any form of joy, happiness, any positive feeling I try to avoid. Could this be the reason for my pain??? I get major anxiety when trying to let go and be happy because every time in my life when I’ve had periods of actually enjoying life soon after something traumatic happened to me. I am so scared of good things because of this. I am a Christian and seek God daily for this issue as well. My mentality has always been if I stay emotionally down then when something happens it won’t shock me but I know I shouldn’t live this way. I really want to let go I just feel so stuck.
  2. MWsunin12

    MWsunin12 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Start in small ways. Start by appreciating something simple...like a color or a certain scent. Let yourself really look at the color or take in the scent. Remind yourself that it brings pleasure to you to see it. Make yourself notice small things as you go about your day.

    We've been led to believe that "happiness" is this big goal. It's too much pressure. Just start small and it will become second nature.

    Stop telling yourself that you're so stuck. You already know WHY you keep yourself low...now it's just taking small steps out of it, until you eventually convince your brain that it's safe to feel pleasure.

    best wishes.
    andy64tms likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Marcia and Tc35,

    Thanks for the beautiful conversation around joy. It was just coming up a moment ago for me. I appreciate your attunement Marcia that it is often tasted with a very light touch.

    I do think some TMS revolves around the defenses/material/Inner Critic reactions to the arising of joy. When we're kids, joy was often not safe. I recall that as a school teacher, I often wanted to ragefully smash the joy I felt in the room. Partly this was because it wasn't mine, in the moment, and partly it was because of the fact that I was, likewise, taught in many environments that joy was not OK. So the presence of joy has issues for all of us, I think.

    I also think that joy may be a natural antidote to obsessive thinking. I often name joy "mindless joy" or "senseless joy." Joy has nothing to do with fixing anything, getting things right, survival obsessing. It just is, without cause. This also points to the quality of freedom, lack of solidity about joy, which I think can bring up conscious or unconscious fear. Is it really safe to "be joy?!"

    May we enjoy our joy in all its subtle forms!

    Andy B
    andy64tms and MWsunin12 like this.
  4. JulieMTherapy

    JulieMTherapy Peer Supporter

    I think that a huge component of TMS is a belief that we don't deserve to feel pleasure. I know that feeling good was super hard for me (and still is at times). As Andy said, if during childhood, play was not safe then you would internalize that and be scared of joy.

    Being scared of good things due to trauma is totally normal! Your awareness of this is the key to freedom. You can tell yourself that you're ok and that you deserve to feel good! Also, sometimes people with TMS feel like in order to get "positive" attention, they need to be in pain. It's like we don't deserve close relationships unless we need to be helped but we do!
    andy64tms and MWsunin12 like this.
  5. Miriam G. Bongiovanni

    Miriam G. Bongiovanni Peer Supporter

    I get what you're saying so much. I used to be like that, and still am on my worst days! I found myself chasing joy desperately, trying to do stuff and go to places where I used to feel it with no success, trying to make life perfect for myself. It doesn't work.
    What works is giving up the pursuit. I visualize myself trapped inside a box sometimes, trying to push to get out. The more I push, the harder the box gets, as if it's made of steel. Then, when I stop pushing, the box starts to fade. This is what I did to get better from TMS - I started to enjoy the journey, because I was learning so much and enjoying the learning process so much that I stopped thinking too much of the outcome.
    Also, when you catch yourself thinking something negative, try to replace the thought with a happier one - keep repeating this each time you're aware of sadness or negativity, to start reprogramming you brain for joy. I did this with a hypnotherapist once; she asked me to replace a negative picture with a positive one of joy instead, until the positive one totally took over the negative one. Ideally you do this in a very relaxed state, such as after meditation.
    It will happen when you least expect it - one day, you'll just wake up and realise there is joy!
  6. andy64tms

    andy64tms Well known member

    Hi Tc35,
    My joy is? You’ve guessed it being on a windsurfer. I remember when at work in mundane situations just casting my mind back to the previous weekend fun to feel good. It amazes me how a past event like this makes me feel so happy, but it does. It is a good clue when you heart flutters with excitement reflecting a past moment of joy.

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