Why do empaths lose their joy in the first place?
Empaths often have lost their sense of what makes them happy after years of trying to please others. Creating a Joy List can help us tune into what makes us feel happy again.
As empaths, we feel other’s feelings so strongly and we just want their anger and sadness to go away, so we do whatever we need to do to make the feeling stop. We feel relief if we can take someone in deep sadness and make them smile again. Or, we can breathe easily again when we can make someone who is angry stop yelling and speak in a calmer voice.
If making someone else feel happy means that we don’t get to eat at the restaurant we want to, or we spend more money than our budget really allows, we do it. Sometimes, even If we have to sacrifice our time, our money and our dreams, we do it.
Then one day, we don’t remember what we really like. We don’t remember what makes us feel happy. We look to someone else to tell us. “What do you want to eat for lunch?” “I don’t know. What do you want?” Sound familiar?
It gets worse when it comes to bigger decisions. “Should I buy this house?” “Should I take this job?” I used to look to my parents to help me with every decision. They have really great advice, but at some point, after my mom passed, my dad and I didn’t see eye to eye. We have very different personalities.
Eventually, it became too painful to listen to the conflicting opinions of everyone in my life and I had to finally learn to listen to my own intuition.
Create a Joy List
One of the first things I did was create a Joy List on the advice of one of my business mentors, Kristin. She explained how important it would be to take time for myself while I tried to reach my goals.
It was really hard to think of things that brought me joy at first. Of course, I could say time with family and reading books, the usual kind of answers, but she wanted us to list 50 things! I thought of things over several days and I eventually came up with around 50 things.
I encourage you to make a joy list of your own. To make your list, spend some time in a quiet spot and think about things that make you happy. They can be free, or cost money. They can take a long time or just a few short minutes. Things will come to you over the next few days as you are going about your daily routine.
Finally, you need to put this list somewhere prominent. It could be on a bulletin board in your office, on your refrigerator, on a notes page on your phone, or anywhere else that you can look at it regularly.
Here are some things that are on my list:
-explore small towns
-watch cows graze in a pasture
-spend time with all of my kids together
-browse Target with my girls
-dinner with a few close friends
-yearly trip with my college friends
-lunch with my family on the weekends
You get the idea. There are more ideas in this post by Psychology Today.
1. Create a Joy List of 50 (or more) things that bring you joy.
2. Post your list in a prominent place.
3. Look at your list any time you need inspiration or want to feel happier.
4. Pick one thing from the list and do it.
Empaths can learn to find joy again after years of people pleasing and ignoring your intuition. Creating a Joy List is an easy place to start. Start with one step at a time.
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Check out my mini-course Transformational Morning Routine for Empaths to spend more time on self-care.