Image Source: AI Generated
When I was younger, naïve, and inexperienced to the pain life throws at you, finding joy in life was simple. I felt I enjoyed life at a deeper level, with every sense and fiber of my being. This simplicity and ease of melting into joy somehow diminished with age into my late twenties and well into my thirties.
One day joy was easily found in a cup of weak, horrid university cafeteria coffee, warming cold hands while having a laugh with a friend as we waited in the rain for the shuttle to take us to the train station. It was listening to pigeons roosting under the eaves near my bedroom window. Joy was something I came to expect from my favourite music, movies, people, and hobbies. Then one day, it was not as reliable anymore. No longer to be found in all the old familiar places, now abandoned. Was it just one of those things that happens when one matures and leaves behind the naivety of youth, joy diminishing with every milestone of disappointment and heartbreak? Was it lost in the exchange when we traded the magic of childhood for the drudgery of mortgages? Or was there something I was missing? A key to finding joy in life that I misplaced along the way.
The young, naive, and the inexperienced place their trust in anything without question. I definitely trusted more. I trusted people. I trusted life. I trusted myself. Then people hurt me. Life cut me. My mistakes haunted me. And I lost faith in others, in life, and in myself. I enjoyed life less as a result.
There is a connection between trust and the depth of joy you experience. When you trust you are free of fearful thoughts. You let go of expectations. Your heart is open to whatever lies ahead.
Trusting ourselves – Authenticity
When we trust ourselves we make decisions that are more authentic to us. Un-swayed by the opinions of others. Authentic decisions lead to authentic lives, rich with meaning. We are more willing to take on risks for something that will add to our treasure trove of experiences. We try new things and learn and grow with each undertaking.
Trusting others – Vulnerability
Interacting with other people, without questioning their motives or hidden agendas, gives us the space to be vulnerable with them. Showing them the parts of us that take courage to lay bare, that when acknowledged by another allows us to feel seen and heard for who we truly are. We feel closer to that person. They stand out amongst the billions of other humans, as someone of significance and importance to us. And when we acknowledge them, a bond is formed, based on a belief and sense that the other person gets us because we felt seen by them.
Such bonds form relationships that are key to human survival and thriving. We are, even the most introverted among us, social creatures in need of other people. Lasting relationships offer us the most comfort and meaning that enriches our lives. This all begins with a sprinkle of faith and a little trust.
Trusting life – Curiosity
Letting go of fear invites curiosity. Yet we would be foolish to be completely trusting after all experience has taught us. From grazed knees on first bicycle rides, to burnt fingertips when learning to cook, we learn from the experience allowing it to enrich us.
Not restrict us.
If we let our negative experiences enrich us, give depth to our perspective, we continue to maintain a sense of curiosity and continue to experiment until we get it right. If we allow negative experiences to control our view and take over the narrative, we give in to our fears and kill whatever curiosity we may have. Without a desire to try, an urge to see, to find out, we simply go through the motions of life. Robots mimicking human expression, we lose out on finding the joy curiosity invites into our lives.
Curiosity enables us to embrace uncertainty without us even realising we are doing so. We are less conscious of our fears and all the worst case scenarios and approach life with a sense of wonder.
What would be your honest experience of life?
All the things that give us true joy, a feeling of richness and meaning, only come about through honesty. When we click with the right people it brings joy because we didn’t have to force it or fake it. When we get lost in the pleasure derived from activities we love, its because we are flowing from a feeling of joy of connecting to something true within us. The truth that we enjoy this hobby even if it is dorky or weird or cheap or expensive. If joy comes about through an honest experience of this world, then trust is the key, creating a sense of safety to be more open and honest. Unlocking the joy to life.