Tender and Vulnerable Joy

In another very unexpected discovery, my research also taught me that there’s no such thing as selective emotional numbing. There is a full spectrum of human emotions and when we numb the dark, we numb the light. While I was “taking the edge off” of the pain and vulnerability, I was also unintentionally dulling my experiences of good feelings, like joy. Looking back, I can’t imagine any research finding that has changed what my daily life looks like more than this. Now I can lean into joy, even when it makes me feel tender and vulnerable. In fact, I expect tender and vulnerable.

Joy is as thorny and sharp as any of the dark emotions. To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees — these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy. In fact, addiction research shows us that an intensely positive experience is as likely to cause relapse as an intensely painful experience.

— Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p. 72-73

One Response to “Tender and Vulnerable Joy”

  1. Vacations says:


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