I bring joy back to the centre of my heart. I express love to all. – Louise Hay
I recall a time when severe heart pains shot through my chest and startled me out of a deep sleep. This happened so often that I scheduled a doctor’s appointment. Surely, something was horribly wrong with my heart. Although my test results returned normal I didn’t feel fine.
I had a beautiful life by society’s standards —a husband, 2 children, a house, and a “good” job. However, I worked long hours, I never saw my children, and my marriage was strained. My work no longer fulfilled me, my husband no longer fulfilled me, and my beliefs no longer fulfilled me. The song that sang inside of my head was sad and melancholic. Occasionally, what I thought was joy would surface but it would quickly dissipate into my dark, gloomy, suicidal thoughts.
My Heart Ached Because I Was Missing Joy
Now I realize my heart ached because I was missing joy.
Joy – the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.
You see, I didn’t realize the goodness or the satisfaction of living in the moment. I shut my eyes to the amazing wonders all around me because I lived in my past. I created a depressing reality by looping pictures of old hurts and feelings in my mind. I focused on the bad of my past instead of the joy of each present moment.
Today I am filled with joy and gratitude because I no longer dwell in the past. I am no longer consumed with thoughts that express self-hatred and unworthiness. I hadn’t been taught how to love me and I believed that I was to sacrifice my happiness so that those around me were happy. I am pleased to say that after reading Louise Hay’s book, “You Can Heal Your Life”, I grew to love myself.
I practiced, what she calls, mirror therapy. For a few months I’d peer into the mirror everyday and say out loud, “Nadyne, I love you and I approve of you.” It seems simple and easy but…
What a challenge.
In the beginning, I didn’t believe my voice. In fact, when I looked at my reflection I was uncomfortable and saw—what people say are imperfections—my laugh lines.
I asked myself, how can something that appears because of a smile be an imperfection?
Through this therapy I began to see how easily I believed the negative things I’d say about myself and how unfamiliar and uncomfortable it was for me to believe the good things I spoke about myself. I wondered why.
But after a month or so, I began to embrace the lady in the mirror. I discovered that I really like her smile and I began to like her. Eventually I embraced her laugh lines, her frown lines, her kinky hair- even the gray strands.
This like grew into love. Not a conceited egotistical love but a genuine love and adoration for ME, the person I wake up to every morning.
I’m not perfect but knowing I have the power to renew my thoughts and create a new me empowers me and brings me joy. I no longer have to believe my old mental patterns and when I’m down I look in the mirror and remind myself that I am wonderfully made, created in the likeness and image of God.
How Do I Change My Thoughts?
By Changing My Inner Language.
When an uncomfortable thought comes to mind, I observe it and I may even entertain it but not for long. I immediately reprogram my mind by shifting my thoughts to a prayer or an uplifting mantra. I think on the goodness and the blessings in my life. I do whatever it takes to change my thoughts (sing, read, watch a good comedy) and when I shift my thoughts my mood follows. You can do this too.
Once I shift my mind, I begin to speak words that uplift and edify. This, too, requires practice and even though I miss the mark at times, I continue to practice.
The other day my friend shared that his chest tightens when he observes his friends in loving relationships with their women. He longs for a committed relationship but must work on his self worth. He is disappointed with what he has accomplished thus far in his life. I shared that he has to embrace himself, fall in love with his wonderful being, and change his mental story before he can love and enjoy a partner.
I told him this because when I fell in love with Nadyne I developed a deep rich love for others and when I changed my depressing story to a story of gratitude, joy waltzed into my life and twirled me around. Because I have made a choice to dance with joy, I maintain peace and happiness even in the midst of crazy situations. I know that life is ebb and flow and that everything is being worked out for my highest good.
Today I bring joy back into the centre of my heart, one moment at a time and I breathe easier knowing that if I can do it, you can too.
Photo by Katherine P.