I have been searching and yearning for joy and laughter in my journey of eating disorder recovery. I couldn’t remember the last time I really laughed or felt joy. So when people would say, “just remember how you used to feel,” I felt defeated. Finding joy and laughter are part of my search for freedom from my eating disorder. I have to admit I was scared to experience joy. I didn’t think I deserved happiness. I thought if I was sad I couldn’t experience joy. Experiencing joy or laughing would invalidate my sadness. I have now learned I can experience sadness and a joyful moment. I can experience more than one emotion at a time. These words have helped validate how I feel.
I recently read something that talked about joy as an act of defiance. This spoke to me, because of all of the times I felt not good enough or undeserving. I can learn to talk back to these voices and allow myself to feel joy in spite of my thoughts.
In my searching for my happiness, I was thinking in extremes. I have realized it didn’t have to be all or none. My black and white thinking was in effect. I did not have to experience the high of highs with joy and laughter. It could be somewhere in the middle. Someone told me being content can equal happiness. I had never thought of this before. It could be a simple cup of coffee or ten-minute yoga. I needed to reframe my idea of happiness.
I realized as I nourished my body, I slowly began to come back to life. I was experiencing different emotions. I wasn’t stuck in sadness or overwhelm. I began to feel okay. I might watch a show that made me smile. My creativity is slowly coming back. I realized taking risks and trying new things brought me joy. Doing things I used to be afraid of doing and saying yes more has helped me in my journey.
I found this quote below and it spoke to me on how I could find joy in my life. Sometimes I may have to work at it and look for those little things.
“Make your life about joy. Celebrate your big and little wins. Grow every day. Enjoy the first sip of your morning coffee, and the second and third and fourth. Find something to smile about on your commute. Give hugs often, compliment others whenever you can. Get inspired. Nourish yourself. Go outside and spend time in nature. Take chances. Make the art. Watch the sunrise. Climb the mountain. Because life is just too short and fragile to not live a life chasing joy.” –Nikki Banas
If you are still searching for joy and laughter, my wish for you is that you find joy in the small unexpected places. That you have a silly smile or can laugh with a friend. Hang in there, more emotions will come in your journey of recovery.