Previous post:

Next post:

Letting fun and joy and laughter back in

Letting fun and joy and laughter back in

When you’re grieving the death of someone you love it can be very natural to feel a lot of negative emotion…and not a lot of positive. This isn’t everyone’s experience but it’s probably true for most people.

For a while we think there is actually no fun or joy or laughter available to us. The problem can be though that there is (because there always is) and that we are not just missing out by not noticing it, but that we are actively pushing it away.

In the early days of grief this can be very easy to do. Much of your focus can be on your pain and what you’ve lost. It can seem that there is nothing good. That you’ll never laugh again. That fun and joy no longer exist. And this is the time when it’s even more important to open your eyes and allow yourself to see the beauty, the love around you, and to experience the fun and the joy. Daily gratitude/appreciation lists are fantastic for this, because they draw your attention back to what is good in your life, what you can feel grateful for every day, despite what is happening. Because there are always things you can be grateful for and appreciative of.

There is this misguided idea that many people have that when you’re sad over a recent death then you should just be sad and nothing else. That laughter, fun and joy aren’t appropriate. That they would be disrespectful to your person who has died. A sign that you don’t care that much, perhaps. But this is utter BS! Consider this instead: No-one wants to be a black hole in your life! No-one wants to die and be remembered as an emptiness that sucks all your fun, laughter and joy into it. What a crappy legacy that would be.

And for many it’s ongoing…well beyond the initial raw parts of grief.

This is because it can become a practise and one that we can become very good at. It may have been a practise in your life already. In fact if you are someone who was already good at this – especially if you have a history of depression or tending more to negative thinking and unhappiness in general – then you may find you’ve gotten even better at this. If this is the case then what you’ll likely find is that, even as you travel your path to heal your grief completely, you’ll still struggle to find the fun and joy and laughter in life.

Recently a friend reminded me of a conversation we had, probably about 10 years ago, where we both admitted that we were more comfortable in unhappiness than happiness. More comfortable in sadness than joy. While I don’t remember the conversation, it sounds exactly like me. I spent much of my time from my mid-teens till my mid-thirties very depressed. Boy oh boy was I ever comfortable in misery. I knew it well, it was very familiar. And, to be totally honest, only recently have I been working to shift the practise of seeing what’s bad, what’s wrong, and what’s hard all the time. Instead now actively embracing joy, fun, laughter, and all other variations of those words. But it takes consciousness, awareness, and intention.

The trick is that you don’t even need to create these opportunities really – you just need to stop ignoring them or pushing them away. Just let fun and laughter and joy back in. This applies whether the death was recent, long ago, whether you’ve healed already, or even whether you’ve never been in grief at all.

Allow laughter to happen. Watch a good comedy if you need to.

Say yes to fun things you’d like to do.

Say yes to social engagements, or create some.

Kids and pets can be an incredible source of fun, laughter and joy (when you stop pushing these feelings away). And actually kids are the perfect example of people who can go through pain and sadness…and then swing into joy and happiness (and then back again as they go) without guilt.

Time in nature, enjoying a sunrise, watching a stream pass, looking at the clouds, getting some sun on your face.

Life will give you opportunities for joy, laughter, and fun EVERY SINGLE DAY of your life. Whether you’re grieving or not. Whether you feel broken or whole. It’s simply up to you to take them.