Foreboding joy and self trust

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Written by Daz Burns

A reflection on what we can do better to help us reach our full potential! 



Brené = brilliant.


Some books you read and they just leave you with silence. 


Mind at ease. 

Moments of realization that help you understand yourself in a new way that leaves you silent. 


Brene’s book about emotions did this for me.


Two feelings in particular:

  1. Self Trust
  2. Foreboding joy


And more so the fact that the two go hand in hand for me. 


37 years

For years. 

And I mean 37 years to be exact. 

I have had great things happen to me.

Things that should have left me elated. 




But instead, I immediately feel dread. 

Waiting for the ‘other shoe to drop’. 

The ‘gotcha moment’ with a hidden camera.

The storm after the magic. 

Thoughts of ‘something bad is bound to happen now’.

Thoughts of ‘ok, so worst case scenario is…’

Actions that don’t celebrate or push the boat too far.

Actions that don’t happen because of fear of enjoying something too soon. 


This is foreboding joy

Brene defines it as “that moment when joy is interrupted by thoughts of ‘but what if something bad happens?’”


This ‘ah-ha’ moment helped me to realise that I have played it relatively safe for THIRTY-SEVEN YEARS! 

And it never actually kept me safe.

Bad shit still happened.

But great things happened too and I never enjoyed them fully for fear or anxiety of ‘yeah, that’s awesome it happened, but what’s going to happen next?!’



On deeper reflection, it was almost a fear of embarrassment, like if I celebrated out loud and then something bad happened, that everyone would point, stare, laugh and say I jumped the gun on celebrating, enjoying and being proud of something. 


Further honest reflection after some more ‘yes Queen Brené’ moments, helped concrete in the fact that there is more than enough joy to go around, just like empathy. 

They aren’t finite.

They aren’t a well that will run dry.

We don’t have a crystal ball to predict the future.



There is no punch to beat. 

There is just a life to live and I want to live it fully and presently without the interruption of dread.

Nothing wrong with being vulnerable, right?!


Trust and vulnerability

And when you look at foreboding joy through a Self Trust lens, more pennies drop. 

Trust takes vulnerability. 


But feeling vulnerable isn’t something we enjoy feeling.

Being vulnerable isn’t something we enjoy doing. 

Because, how often have we feared someone hurting us?

Of giving our heart to someone “knowing they’ll break it.”

Of putting ourselves forward for a promotion “knowing they’ll turn you down.”

Of trialling for a sports team or auditioning for a production “knowing there is someone better than you.”

The flip side is that we are obviously trying to protect ourselves, but from what?!

From being human?

From making mistakes?

From giving our all to people? To things? To experiences?

And how grateful we feel when a bad thing happens and we have that sense of relief being able to say ‘well, at least I saw that coming’ or a friend reminding you ‘I warned you that would happen didn’t I?’


I have done this too often

I have missed out on opportunities by:

  • Talking myself out of it.
  • Telling others they should do it when I really want to.
  • Lacking the confidence to try.
  • Avoiding challenges that I may not overcome.
  • Telling myself I am not good enough. 
  • Treating myself terribly.


But actually, the lesson, the ‘slap myself in the face and call me silly’ moment.

I have genuinely thought, well, “if I don’t try then I can’t fail”.

They can’t hurt me.

I won’t look dumb.


When actually, in reality:

Well, “if I don’t try, then I can’t overcome”.

I can’t achieve.

I can’t succeed. 

I can’t live fully.


There is so much to marinate on when you start to look at your missed opportunities.



Do it. 


Dig deep. 

Be honest with yourself.

For goodness sake, read Atlas of the Heart and then give it to a friend to read. 

Be kind to yourself and dare to be vulnerable.

Nothing great ever happened in your comfort zone.

Get out there and try! 

Gather precious moments and enjoy every minute.

Keep your thoughts in check and kick the negative ones to the curb.

Trust yourself and live. ❤️

Daz xx



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