Yes you can feel joy! I too once believed that this was an impossible experience for me.
For anybody in the throes of an eating disorder and any type of depression, this is the case. That is because fear has taken over and we are concerned only with others opinions of us and not with finding the joy that is always there within us.
The natural state of being is joy. Watch animals and young children. They are naturally full of joy and exuberance. This is how we can feel all the time if we allow ourselves to.
So what stops us?
It’s simple. When we lack joy it is because we have forgotten how to live in the present moment. When we have a belief about ourselves that is negative we fill ourselves with negative memories of the past and a dread of the future. It is not possible for joy to exist when we are full of regret and fear. In order to rid ourselves of this negativity we need to come to an understanding of reality.
The past does not exist. We can attempt to keep it alive by holding onto memories but that is a not a good choice to make. Your life is like a book. Once you have turned the page, why would you go back to read the last page again? You want to move forward, to find out what happens next. To accelerate to the end is also futile as you will miss out on the whole journey. We are not supposed to know what is going to happen in our future. If we were supposed to know, then we would. The future for everyone consists of what we view as positive and negative experiences but in reality there is no good or bad, only experience. Those experiences that challenge us can be viewed in whichever way we like – as destructive and soul destroying or as opportunities for growth. Everything depends on how we view it.
For example, two men lose their jobs. The first chooses the road of fear. He decides that his life is no longer worth living and begins to drink heavily, pushing his friends and family away. He becomes increasingly scared, angry and bitter and eventually suffers from a breakdown.
The second man sees losing his job as a wonderful opportunity for growth. He was not enjoying his job, and had always dreamed of working for himself, doing something creative. He enrols at college to learn graphic design, finds a new job to fund his learning, eventually qualifies as a designer, sets up his own business and lives the life of his dreams.
This is what is meant by living in the present moment – simply accepting and going with the flow rather than struggling against the natural ebb and flow of life. The next time you are out, watch how a bird flies in the sky. Does it struggle and fight with the wind or does it allow itself to be carried and wait until the moment is right to start using his wings again?