While it is okay to be sad, we don’t have to let disappointments and grief have the ultimate word in our life. Choosing life and living with sober joy is also an option.

Sober joy is our ability to live life holistically, accepting the beauty and the sorrow.

It’s being neither overly pessimistic nor overly optimistic, but rather holding the tension that life consists of both profound goodness and indescribable heartaches.

Admittedly, this is a hard tension to hold and many of us swing to one extreme or the other.

Extreme Pessimist

An extreme pessimistic view focuses on the hurt and pain of life. Life is a tragic story – a bitter reality. And anyone who denies this sobering perspective is just being naïve.

Sure, there are occasional positive moments, but these are suspect and fleeting at best. While here for a moment, all good things must end.

Extreme Optimist

An extreme optimist view focuses on the fun and happiness of life. Life is a party, and only this intoxicating sweetness is tolerated.

Sure, bad things happen, but to dwell on the negative is simply playing the victim. It’s better not to bring attention to life’s difficulties and just pretend everything is “fine.”

Sober Joy

A sober joy accepts the bittersweet reality of life. Yes, there is a lot of bitter heartache and pain, but there is also overflowing goodness and many sweet joys.

And both are true at the same time. The joys of life do not cancel out the sorrow, nor does the sorrow have to rob us of the joys.

With a sober joy we can weep over broken relationships, cancer, and death, while also rejoicing with the beauty of friendships, delicious food, and the birth of new life.

Holding this tension allows us to be fully present and offer our strength through all the ups and downs of life.

Accept both the sorrow and the beauty of life by living with a sober joy.

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