If you are younger you may not remember this.
When I was a young’un as we said in the South, I was expected to eat everything on my plate. Sometimes my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I couldn’t eat that last serving. That’s when my Mother tried “motivation by guilt”. Directing her bony finger to my almost empty plate, the nonsensical words would tumble out… “Donna, just think of the hungry people in China.”
I thought of that this morning when I was feeling such joy about life. I had spent a lovely weekend with someone I really enjoy, walking a beautiful beach while white pelicans and osprey circled above. It was perfect and I was dying to share it.
Reaching for my laptop to email my best friend, a poisonous voice declared..“She doesn’t want to hear about your JOY.“ What??? Suddenly, I was flooded with memories of times when I was so happy, proud of something I had accomplished, excited about an upcoming event. Then I realized that more often than not, I would almost immediately start censoring, diminishing and dumbing down the vibrancy of those feelings of joy.
What is it about our culture that won’t let us feel every square inch of the joy that life offers us, even on more mundane weekends? Where did we take that turn in the road that left us feeling badly about having something that someone else might not have, feeling good when someone near us is not, being proud of ourselves and telling others about what we accomplished?
I don’t know if perhaps my experience is a generational thing or not. I hope so because when I am with my grandchildren, I have faith that it is a thing of the past. If you had adults in your life who told you to “keep it on the down low” when you feel good, it is time to put those voices in a mental vault!
The next time you feel overwhelmed with joy and happiness, just let it all hang out! Maybe it will be just exactly what your friend needs to hear to brighten his day. Joy is contagious. It heals body and soul and the world needs more of it, not less...so please share yours with a thirsty world.