I was out with a group of women recently and the conversation shifted to one who just got engaged. As we dug into the details of the day and all of the glorious trappings of it, I couldn’t help but notice how she was tempering her excitement and downplaying the whole thing. “I don’t want people to think I’m bragging” she said to me later. “I remember what it felt like to be single and I don’t want to make any of my single friends feel bad.”

As one of those single friends, I really wanted to hear about her happiness. There’s something contagious about someone who is beaming pure joy; it’s catchy and I wanted some of it.

But I understand what she was saying. On one hand, no one likes a bragger. On the other hand, she was experiencing an amazing time of her life–if you don’t scream for happiness about this sort of thing, when do you? It got me thinking:

When did being happy become taboo?

Share your joy

I recognize that she was coming from a place of sensitivity. And that’s so considerate of her! But like my mom always said, there’s enough happiness to go around. There’s no limit on how much happy one person can experience + they can’t use it all up. We can all win.

And downplaying your happy doesn’t increase mine, it just decreases yours.

We don’t have to degrade wonderful moments so that others won’t feel inadequate or jealous. I get it–we’ve all felt jealous at some point of someone else’s good fortune; but tempering joy isn’t helpful.  In fact, quite the opposite is true. Feeling the full throttle of elation for your own life encourages others to do the same for theirs.

So let’s get back to basics, increase our overall joy and encourage others to do the same.  Here are some simple steps to do that:

  1.  Choose happiness.  It sounds simple, yet we forget that happiness is a choice.  There is a silver lining to every cloud.  Start cultivating a habit that always looks for the best in all things.  When you approach life this way, happiness becomes the norm.
  2. Stop comparing.  If you encounter someone that has what you want, remember that by virtue, the yearning you have was put there for a reason.  Your wanting and searching for it, means it was meant to be in your life in some way.  Be gracious.  Know your time is coming.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  When you’re aware + grateful of all of the wonderful things in your life, it’s easy to be happy.  Make a list of all of these amazing things and reflect on it regularly.  It’s tough to be down when you’re feeling like a rockstar.
  4. Be the pied piper.  Moods are contagious so bring your happiness with you wherever you go.  Share your joy.   You can be an inspiration to others and create an environment that is fun and joyful.  You just might be that spark to give others permission to ignite their own happiness.

Next time someone starts leaning in to a joyful story, give them permission to wallow in that happy space.  When they try to divert to the negative parts or shut it down, encourage them to stay present and share more of their elation.  It gives everyone permission to feel good, then we all win.  And that’s the best reason to be happy.

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