I've come to recognize my own part in my suffering.
Yes, bad things have happened. I've had a lot of difficult experiences. I've hurt people when I was unhealed as well as when I've been actively choosing to heal. I'm not perfect, I don't always stick to routines, I sometimes lose my cool, I'm triggered at times and I also am trying really hard to learn from my past and show up differently now.
I still have self-sabotaging days where I don't choose the "best" choice, where I don't put what is good for me at the top of my to-do list, and a lot of it is rooted in the subconscious belief that I am not worthy of joy and my worth is tied to how "well" I do but I can still never do enough to prove it.
So much of my life circumstances have been rooted in grief and abandonment, and although I don't consciously have the fear of losing others, it still exists. Somewhere along the process of childhood grief that stems in adoption and the loss of my first dad at the age of 4, I took on the belief that I was not worth sticking around for, and I needed to be perfect or else others would leave me.
In that strive for perfection, I lost myself and did everything in my power to hide my flaws so far beneath the surface that no one would see them. But they came up. They never went away, they festered into a dark shadow of shame that is finally diminishing in the light of healing, and yet, I can see the remnants in some beliefs.
I always thought I needed to get rid of my very human parts that are not perfect but now I know I can love myself with them. I can experience joy with them. I can release the belief that I need to hate myself into change and take action that feels good and invites more joy.
I once thought I had to suffer through life, and now I know that while life does have suffering, and pain, it also has so much goodness and I deserve to experience that good regardless of my past, regardless of what i've done, because my worthiness is inherent and does not need to be proved.
When I decide I am worthy of joy, I take actions that are more loving towards others, and it spreads joy all around, and I take way less of the actions I used to take when I was sitting in shame and guilt that are self-sabotaging or hurtful.
People often talk about the negative cycles of shame or guilt which are true, but i think focusing on the positive cycle of joy can be even more powerful.
Deciding you are deserving of joy makes you take more inspired action that help you instill the belief even further. Joy all starts from within.