Choosing Joy

What is it in humans that compels us to hold bad things close but throw good things right out the window almost as soon as they happen? 

If someone dies, or your significant other leaves, or your best friend insults your child, or someone is mean to you, or someone cuts you off in traffic and then shoots you the bird when you honk your horn, we tend to cling to those bad things.  We re-live them again and again in our minds.  We cry and we moan and we scream and we develop the need for drugs or alcohol or junk food or mindless sex with strangers or any number of other unhealthy options.  But we can’t seem to just let go of the event and let it pass by.

Whereas, when we get married, or we hear someone tell us “I Love You” for the first time, or someone we don’t know makes us laugh, or the sky is just such a beautiful shade of blue that you can hardly stand it, or your dog comes to greet you at the door at the end of a hard day, or you really feel bad and someone makes you suddenly feel better, these events we enjoy and acknowledge and then pretty much forget about.  We don’t cling to joy.  We don’t clutch bliss to our chests and refuse to let go of it.  We just let it fade.

Why?  Why hang on to grief and let go of life?  Why hang on to anger and let go of happiness?  Why are we so willing to re-live some imagined or real insult, but never think twice about a heartfelt but unexpected compliment? 

I’ve known 50 year old women who are still whining about that great guy they used to date in college.  I’ve known 30 year old men who are still crying themselves to sleep over some girl who dumped them 10 years ago.  I have coworkers who are still pissed off at the former branch manager, who hasn’t worked there for over five years.  I’ve seem neighbors who won’t speak to each other after 20 years because their boys played baseball on different teams and one’s boy tagged the other’s boy out at third base.  Really, folks, what the hell are you clinging to this shit for?

There is joy and bliss and magic in the world each and every day, if we only open our eyes to it and see it and acknowledge it and accept it and thank the Universe for it.  If we could teach ourselves to cling to joy instead of cling to pain, the entire planet might heal itself. 

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