Kris’ Corner – Points of Joy

April 24, 2024

So I don’t know that I have a ton to say about this week’s topic, but it’s something that was brought to my attention by an adoption therapist (Melissa Corkum…she has a significant online presence so feel free to look her up for more of what she’s about), who is an adoptive mom and also an adoptee herself. Point being, she’s experienced trauma personally and has also lived with it through bringing kids from hard places into her home as well. She absolutely knows what she’s talking about when she talks about trauma, and trauma healing.

To begin, she talks in her trainings about how difficult it is to maintain compassion for yourself and your child when you are trying to help your child heal from trauma. It can just be so, so hard.

I’ve talked about this in previous posts but living in this hard space basically can lead to something called “blocked care”; this is when you are giving the basic and essential care to a child, but are emotionally detached (or blocked, as it were). You are not giving connected care, and as many of you probably already know, connection is crucial in helping kids from hard places in their healing.

So, Melissa offers some different ways to “reclaim compassion” (her words) for yourself and get yourself out of that funk. And other things she discusses are planning daily fun and giving an unexpected yes. I’m going to talk about reclaiming compassion today, and daily fun and unexpected yes in my next posts …because you’ll have a little bit of homework for each to work on for yourself.

So…finding joy/reclaiming compassion in your everyday life. This doesn’t have to be something big and complex. But Melissa encourages people to write down 50 things that bring joy to them. It can be as simple as drinking a cup of coffee in a quiet house before everyone is awake, or enjoying a beautiful sunset, or taking the time to read something for fun for 15 minutes.

And on top of simply creating the list, the next step is actually DOING them…because part of the assignment is checking off at least seven of those items per day. But also: you can duplicate points in different days. For instance, if you get to enjoy a cup of coffee and a quiet house three days out of seven (and you take time to notice it, and the joy it brings you, not just DO it), you can check that off three times.

And this means that by the end of a week you’ll have at least 50 (ok, technically 49 but probably 50) “points of joy” as she calls them.

As I alluded to above, the caveat is not that you simply did them, but that you took the time to acknowledge them in the moment, and appreciated them. For example, I have on my list walking the dog while the sun is coming up. So honestly, that’s really two different things potentially because I enjoy watching the sun come up while I am outside and breathing the fresh air and I also enjoy getting some exercise myself. It’s all the things for me. But it’s also something that I do every day…so I have to stop and make a conscious decision to be aware of it in order for it to bring joy.

And I’m not always mindful. Sometimes it’s just about getting the dog out and getting a walk in real quick before we jump into our busy day.

However, I find that the start of the day is much more pleasant if I can acknowledge that joyful moment. Even if my son has gotten up early, even if he is escalated for no reason that’s apparent to me, even if it’s raining or bitterly cold, or some other undesirable thing that could make it miserable, I can still choose joy in something about that moment.

And truly it can over time change your attitude and allow you to see things from a more joyful perspective. That doesn’t mean anything in your life has changed, and it might not change in the immediate future. But having a changed perspective and ultimately changed attitude, can help reclaim that joy for yourself, as she says, as well as for your child.

So, make your list of 50 things that bring you joy and start checking them off this week!