Joy: The Most Terrifying Emotion


If you are familiar with Brené Brown, you know she believes that joy is the most terrifying, difficult emotion. What does she mean by that? It is best explained by an example she often gives: it’s when you stand over your child knowing that you love him more than life itself, but at the same time imagining something bad is going to happen to him. Essentially, it’s not being able to sink into the full weight of vulnerability. It’s trying to beat vulnerability to the punch instead of practicing gratitude. The gratitude that you can actually be in that moment.

Joy and Gratitude

When I first came in contact with Brené and read her book Daring Greatly, I didn’t know what to call those competing feelings bubbling up at times throughout my life. In my big moments: when I graduated from law school, the days leading up to my wedding, or when I was pregnant with my son. I was so happy and so joyful that I could feel myself trying to temper my excitement because how could life be this good? There are other people who will never be able to feel this amount of happiness! Is something bad going to happen?!

Brené believes that the only way to get over these feelings it to cultivate gratitude. This is something that I intentionally practice every day. My two-year-old son is the by far the greatest thing I have ever been a part of in my life. His joy, his smile, his touch, his inquisitiveness, and his laugh are all things that I cherish on a daily basis.  I remind myself to only live in the moment. To live and to love RIGHT NOW.

Photo Cred: M. Shonell Photo

Becoming a Mama brings on emotions we never thought possible. But, here we are. All I ask of you is to be kind to yourself, take in all of those sweet and mundane moments (even at 3 a.m. with a screaming newborn!) and be happy that you can feel. Just take joy in these moments and be grateful for it all.







  1. So poignant. Being grateful isnt just a passing feeling, it’s conscious action everyday! Awesome blog post ❤️

  2. I am very familiar with that feeling of joy, you want them to experience the world. But you are terrified when they are out your sight, what could happen. Is it something dad can fix or make better and what are you gonna say to them, when you can’t fix it. Parenting is joyous and frustrating especially as they get older! Great start to your blog! 🙂

Comments are closed.