Ebb and flow – joy and sadness…

What is joy, and what is sadness? By definition, joy is happiness. Sadness is unhappiness. They would seem to be contradictory. Yet, can the two ever co-exist? They can, and often they do. What is worry, and what is faith? Worry is rooted in uncertainty. Faith is certainty. Worry is lack of confidence and trust. Faith is confidence and trust. They too, would seem contradictory. They too, can co-exist. Humans are complex beings, full of contradictory emotions. It is never possible to fully eliminate negativity from our countenance. However, with introspection we can hope to find the roots of that negativity. And I would maintain that for most of us, many of those roots are insecurity. Insecurity and security again are contradictory, yet again can and do co-exist in each of us. We are secure in those areas of our lives within which we believe we have mastery, where we feel strong and confident. We are insecure in those where we are uncertain, those portions of our lives where we feel vulnerable. There is an inherent sadness in vulnerability. There is joy in strength and confidence. We find faith in those things we see as sources of strength, yet worry of those which tap our strengths and seep them away from us. These forces act upon us constantly: Joy, sadness; worry, faith; security, insecurity – they ebb and flow within us as the life circumstances and challenges we face are overcome or succumbed to. We often look to outside influences to affect these, to alter the patterns of ebb and flow. But though certainly those influences have effect upon our responses – the responses are ours. The support of others eases our burden, just as criticisms may weigh us down. Sharing of joy increases joy, sharing of sadness lessens it. Ultimately, though it is within our own duality that we must find that balance. The resilience of a person is marked by that ability to find our way between those things that weigh us down, and those that build us up. We are buoyed by those things within our lives – within ourselves – that give us joy. Even as joy is influenced by circumstance, by events, by people, the manifestation of joy is very personal and internal. Finding joy means tapping those things within you that bring forward those senses of elation, jubilation, exuberance – and once tapped, holding tight to them. And while doing that, having understanding of the sources of those negative emotions – and while not expecting to eliminate them – diminish their impact upon us through the acceptance of their context. To be happy in this world, then, does not necessitate that we deny the negativity within us – but that we put it in its place, which is always lower in significance than that which offers us joy. 

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