What a radical concept. You deserve joy.

The cult I was raised in literally taught us that we were lucky to suffer and to “pay indemnity” for the sins of our ancestors. I was “lucky” to have my mom leave me (and my older brother) to join the cult. Over and over again I was told I was lucky and special because of my suffering.

When the truth is just the opposite. We all deserve joy. Not suffering. Joy.

Perhaps this blows your mind too when you first hear it, even if you weren’t told the exact opposite when you were young. Somehow so many of us go through life thinking, “Who am I to be happy? Who am I to find and live joy.”

Again, you deserve joy.

And here’s the thing I also know, more and more. Joy is mine to create. Joy is mine to find. Joy may be my birthright, just for being, but it’s up to me to do what I can to bring and allow more into my life.

I am still (no surprise) having hard moments and days. Sometimes I feel as if I’m still thawing and realizing all that’s happened and all I’ve not let myself feel. Just the other night, I turned to my husband and said, “I had cancer,” as if it was a new awareness. It somehow was.

I am letting myself have these (understandable) hard moments and days. I am letting myself feel the yucky feels, and I’m sitting with the darkness and practicing RAIN (Recognize Allow Investigate Nurture) – thank you Tara Brach.

Then I’m shifting myself to more joy. I’m reaching out for support. I’m breathing into the present moment so that I can remember that I’m okay. I’m finding reasons to laugh and smile. I’m moving my body (albeit slowly) and changing my thoughts. I’m looking at the trees against the sky and noticing all the love and joy I already have in my life.

Because I deserve joy. You do too.

What are you doing to have more joy in your life? Please tell me, because we are all in this together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

Photo by Alyssa Sieb on nappy

If you have been in ANY high control group or religion, share your story with the hashtag #IGotOut. Share on your own platform OR if you need to be anonymous and/or would like support, there are resources at the @igotout_org website.

When you see a survivor share their story, let them know they have been heard. This is such a meaningful part of the movement. We all need to know we’re not alone.

If you know someone who has been harmed by a high demand group, share #igotout posts or stories you think would help them.

Together we can bring awareness to how many of us have been harmed by high control organizations and end the shame or stigma we might feel about our experiences.

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Find out more at igotout.org

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