When we numb to avoid pain, we also block joy

I just finished the Gifts of Imperfection class with Oprah and Brene Brown. It’s been an incredible class with lots of breakthroughs. And I especially love the art journaling component.

One of the big realizations I had was around numbing. I love how Brene discusses this idea of numbing.

She says the following:

1. I don’t like how I feel so I numb.
2. Numbing the pain numbs the joy.
3. I feel like I have no joy in my life so I numb some more.
4. Only when I let myself feel the struggle do I open myself up to feeling the joy. And feeling both of these gives me the courage and strength to make changes and feel whole.
5. Feeling the struggle gives me the courage to change what’s happening and practice gratitude for what’s going well (even if I have to look hard for it).
6. Feeling the joy gives me the strength and perspective to move forward, out of the dark.

This has been my introduction to motherhood for sure. For me Overwhelm = Numbing. And becoming a parent has been the most overwhelming task I have ever taken on. So it makes sense that I chose to numb. And it makes sense that I have been saying that I want more joy or that I have been missing out on joy.

I invite you to do the following exercise:

1. List out all the things that cause you to numb.

For me it’s overwhelm, anger, feeling out of control, isolation, sadness, helplessness and hopelessness.

2. List out all the ways you  numb.

For me it’s TV, Facebook, iPhone/iPad, chocolate, isolate myself and wanting to sleep all the time.

3. List out all the things that bring you comfort.

For me it’s a bath, music, yoga, tea, sweating at the gym or steam room, getting quality sleep, self help books, audios, courses, creativity, talking to trusted friends, being loving and patient with myself.

4. Create your comfort wisdom list – what creates joy?

Mine are teaching people how to have full, loving lives and bodies, personal development, bath, tea, music, dancing, yoga, working out, massages, coloring, creativity, journaling, being around women, snuggling with my hubby, hearing my baby laugh, and self care.

After completing this course I am happy to report that I feel incredible joy. I love the ordinary moments I share with my loved ones and my crazy, little baby.

I don’t feel more joy because I bought something. Or because I accomplished something. I feel more joy because I woke up, stopped numbing and started living. The joy was already here, I just couldn’t feel it.