There is joy inside of you. Have you felt it recently? Maybe not. Sometimes letting that joy out can be tricky business. For one thing, for many of us, that inner child, held fast by dozens of years worth of carefully crafted adult walls, seems lost to us. For another, even if we can try to sort out what we’re so afraid of, letting out joy is one of the most vulnerable and dangerous things we can do.

The child we started out as—you know the one—she laughed a lot more, and the thought didn’t occur to her that anything was temporal. Embracing that bubbling laughter, even when the future seems bleak (especially then), means that you might run up against some resistance. You might get let down. Better to stay “realistic.”

Also, others might miss the fact that you are not doing that well. If they see you smiling, they might not ask how you’re doing or you might not be understood or feel truly seen. I think we like others to know that we are perpetually stressed, tired, and generally not feeling well.

I think actually, the opposite of what we have believed is true. I think letting out that joy will actually heal us and those around us. I think our friends will begin to habitually ask us how we’re doing because the very presence of our childlike enthusiasm will illuminate that same memory within them. They will want to know us more deeply, and in return be fully known. We will become trustworthy—inspirational—revolutionary.

It is a simple thought, but a profound one. And one that is difficult to embrace. And yet, I believe it has the power to change entire lives.

I want to be a source of freedom and joy in my home. I want my children to laugh more because of me. I want to walk inside of that joy because it will bring perspective to all of those “issues” which we are all too painfully aware of. It will bring hope into arguments and unpleasantries, and maybe even make them a little less serious.

I think we’ve come to believe it will cost us something to live this way. But I believe, actually, it will cost us everything not to.

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