Focus On Your Joy
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Finding your joy is one of the most fun steps in this journey. After you develop a good routine and have maintained that sense of accomplishment, you can start focusing on your joy. If you are in a situation similar to the one I was in then you have probably had all of your joy stolen from you. For me, anything that would make me happy or that I wanted to do for myself wasn't good enough or worth it. Every time I would find something I liked to do it was completely ruined for me and my ex would be sure to suck all the joy right out of it. How did he make this work for so long? Easy, he would simply spoil me and "love bomb" me immediately after so that I would identify him as my source of joy. His technique worked for a long time. But as these cycles typically go, the "love bombing" would stop as soon as I got comfortable and felt happy. Then it would crash down and I was reminded how useless and worthless I was. And so the cycle repeated. Until I started developing that routine. After that I shifted into really finding my joy. Identifying what brought me true joy and what didn't. This was easy to do now that I had truly identified what accomplishment felt like. So I started looking at all of the things I had done that truly made me feel any sense of accomplishment and therefor joy. In turn I also started noticing the things that didn't bring me joy and who was destroying my sense of accomplishment. I wasn't going to give up the feeling of joy for anything. Was it easy? Hell no! I was still being told I was worthless and useless, that everything I did and ever would do would be nothing. I was still in the cycle of abuse. But, the difference now was that I knew it was all a lie. I knew it was abuse. I knew what he was doing as he was doing it and I was not buying it. Yes, we continued through the cycles but I was on my way out and there was no stopping me. So he could tell me that these things were a waste of time and he could tell me I was worthless. It didn't matter. Every morning I was accomplishing more and more. Maybe not to him, but that didn't matter. To me, every accomplishment felt amazing, every time I focused on my joy I felt amazing. And it wasn't inconsistent like the "love bombing" and abuse was. So there was no comparison anymore. He couldn't make me see him as my joy anymore because he simply wasn't. Yes, the more I focused on these other things the harder he would try to destroy them. Sometimes he would win, I would cave, and the cycle would repeat. At this point though, I got stronger each time instead of weaker. I gained more of a sense of self instead of loosing it. It was like the toxic environment I was exposed to was having an opposite effect on me than it had in the past. So what is your joy? What are you going to focus on that brings you that sense of joy? Will it be a hobby? A home project? Maybe working out? Whatever it is, identify it and focus on it. Feel what brings you that sense of accomplishment and go with it. This is going to be very important to master before moving on to the next step which is setting boundaries. You will need to be sure your routine and know your joy before you can properly set the boundaries within yourself and for others moving forward. Those 3 steps when combined and mastered are what freedom feels like.