Joy is a word we should all be using more and better.

Traditionally, psychology has never dealt with joy while focusing on more problematic aspects: pathologies, disorders and distress. It was only at the beginning of the past century, especially thanks to the spreading of positive psychology, that other mental states and experiences – such as happiness, success, and wellbeing– started being studied.

The self-empowerment approach positions itself within this framework: joy, desires, and pleasure are therefore conceived as aims to be pursued and that give meaning and direction to one’s individual path towards generativity.

By the same token, the word joy needs to be highlighted as it counterbalances a very different perception experienced by those who are trying to exit their comfort zone: effort!

Each evolutionary step, especially when planned and somewhat “forced”, brings along a certain deal of effort and requires a lot of energy. In other words, the path towards self-empowerment is conceived as a training ground where mistakes are accepted and moments of fullness and fulfillment are valued and given the importance they deserve.

Joy and sorrow are therefore two faces of the same coin, they are part of the same pathway and, as Kahlil Gibran wrote:

“the deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain”

Here’s an exercise you may like a lot: first, make a list of all the things you enjoy the most. Gifts or small rewards you treat yourself to.

Now think of a recently accomplished goal, even a small one, that you haven’t had the chance to celebrate yet.

Chose something from your list and treat yourself to it to celebrate your success. If you can, involve at least one other person besides yourself and explain him/her the reason behind this celebration.

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