Friday, May 8, 2015

Joy Journal: Celebrate Others

Some happiness research suggests that being others-centered, rather than self-centered, increases our sense of well-being. It’s not just about service and volunteerism though. I think the intentional celebration of others increases positive emotions in your own life.

I stumbled across this idea a little over a year ago. Some of you might recall I was struggling a bit with two good friends getting married and leaving me behind (I might have been slightly dramatic about the whole thing, I now realize). It dawned on me that I could rage against the reality that already was, or I could embrace it…and not just tolerate it, but rejoice in it. Their love stories were a long time coming, and if any two people were deserving of a happy ending, it was my friends. At first, to be perfectly honest, I had to fake it at times- the smile, the enthusiasm. It wasn’t because I didn’t want them to be happy. I was just so deep in my own pain and sense of loss that it was hard to see beyond it. But I stuck with it. I sent encouraging prayers and check ins. I bought presents. I attended events. And you know what happened? Eventually my heart caught up and I felt genuinely happy for the good fortune in their lives. My supportive actions also ignited faith in me that the same happy ending was possible for me too.

From that experience I’ve developed a habit of celebrating others. I don’t just acknowledge major milestones either. Weddings and babies are just some reasons to celebrate in life. If someone launches their own business, meets a personal fitness record, gets a new pair of shoes…if they’re treated to Starbucks, get a new pet, pass a difficult test, or find an amazing sale, I celebrate. In doing so, I give the gift of validation to the people in my life and I receive the gifts of joy, love, and connection. With byproducts like that who wouldn’t want to get out of their own head and get excited about the good things happening for others? It’s really a win-win. So go sow seeds of love and support in the lives of others. See what awesomeness you get in return.


 

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