(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)
When you feel the difference between these two conditions a major tool for having a great life will be in your grasp.
Take a moment and feel what it was like the last time you felt joy. Was it related to an event, a child, an accomplishment, an awareness, a freedom? What was true for you the last time you felt joy? As you recall this event, what does it feel like in your body? What is your breathing? Your facial expression? What’s possible? Other feelings may be associated with joy such as freedom, contentment, eagerness, energy and fulfillment.
Next, pause a moment and recall a time when you recently felt relief. Did you just handle something that had been bothering you? Do something about which you had been procrastinating, something you had been dreading? Did a pain stop? As you recall this relief event, what does it feel like in your body? Your breathing? Your tension?
When you feel joy, you are energized, enlarged, made whole, filled — you inhale. On the other hand, when you feel relief you exhale, let go, feel drained, you have escaped.
Joy comes when you live your values, who you really are, your core beliefs. Relief is when you temporarily fill a need and stop discomfort. Joy pulls you forward, a ‘toward’ energy. Relief is when you have escaped from something, an ‘away from’ energy. The more you clean up your needs, the more free you are to live your values and feel joy.
Copyright 1999 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.