Yesterday afternoon I got some incredible news. It was the kind of news that you jump up and down to and fills your entire body with excitement and joy. I immediately wanted to share my joy, and I called a dear friend who proceeded to scream and jump up and down as well.
Find friends that get as excited for you as they would for themselves when good things happen. That's when you know you've found a member of your tribe.
I got off the phone with her and spread the good news... but something odd happened. All of the sudden, I felt bad about my good fortune. I felt like I was bragging. I immediately toned it down. "It's not a big deal" I typed in one message. Even though inside I'm telling myself, "THIS IS A HUGE FREAKING DEAL!!" I started downplaying it. It was an interesting reaction, and I didn't know what to make of it. I only knew that I didn't want to boast.
I saw another friend a bit later on in person. She looked at me, I looked at her and immediately we started jumping up and down, squealing like twelve-year-old girls who just called their crush.
Your tribe will revel in your excitement.
Immediately after we celebrated, I found myself downplaying it.
"It's not a big deal" I said, eyes downcast.
"It's a HUGE deal!" she reaffirmed. And there it was- that assurance. It's okay to be happy. "I accept and embrace your joy" was what she essentially said.
It's not just me that does this. I feel like as women, we are taught from an early age to not celebrate our accomplishments. We aren't supposed to be sore losers. We are supposed to win "gracefully" -whatever the hell that means. This conditioning teaches us in a very real way, to deny joy.
Why shouldn't we be proud that we scored 100 on that test? Why shouldn't we scream from the hills when we get the big promotion or win the big case?
The only time it appears to be socially joyful is when we get engaged. Then, we are "allowed" to scream and "ooh" and "ahh" over a symbol that has long meant ownership. (I'm totally not hating on engagement rings, I have been known to stare at how my ring sparkles left, than right, in the sunlight.)
In other words, the only time we can be socially loud is when we are celebrating something that involves a man (traditionally.)
What's wrong with being publicly joyful?
I've posted on this blog how it's okay to cry wherever you are. Allow yourself to feel the pain, grief, sadness wherever you are. Today, I'm telling you it's also okay to show your joy wherever you are, whatever you are doing. Who cares if people start looking at you- they aren't part of your tribe, they don't matter. Who cares if you make a "scene?" What? Are they going to kick you out of the restaurant for giggling? Not if they want your money. Are the people on the subway going to laugh at you if you suddenly start doing a dance? Maybe- but laughter in a sense, is joy. Allow them to. Accept their contribution. I bet you'll always remember it.
What are you feeling joyful about today? What moves you to giggles? On that note, when is the last time you laughed?
That's how I know I'm really down- I stop laughing. I'll think back to the last time I laughed and I won't remember. It's a tough spot to be in. You don't want to be that sad, but once you are there, it is so hard to get out of it. That's why I encourage you to find joy today. Maybe it's your cat chasing it's tail, or the fact that the mail carrier brought the mail right up to the door. Don't feel silly for being joyful about mail at your door, it means you don't have to go out into below freezing weather. If you ask me, that IS something to be joyful about.
What is something your friends have done recently that you know they are really proud of? What can you do to celebrate them?
That's the best way to spread joy- to share it. Let it fill your whole body and then allow it to float into the air like a balloon and carry away. Allow the Universe to use your joy to lighten the load of someone else. This idea goes back to the idea that any energy we create goes out into the Universe. Why wouldn't you want to share your joy with others?
I think we are often so concerned with not wanted to brag that we downplay our own accomplishments. Once again, the only person this hurts is ourselves. When we downplay our accomplishments, we miss the huge opportunity to give ourselves credit. It hurts our confidence, hurts our belief in ourselves, and keeps us stagnant. However, when we give ourselves the pat on the back, we can allow our confidence to blossom. Giving yourself credit is not going to give you conceit, I promise you. An over-exaggerated sense of self does not come from allowing yourself to feel joy from your accomplishments. Quite the opposite happens when you start giving yourself credit.
You start to grow.
Why? Because you believe in yourself. Every single reading I do that I knock out of the park, it furthers my belief that my abilities are true and strong. I give myself credit when I am able to make those connections- thanking God and the Universe first, of course. When I allow myself to believe, I can help more of you. I know ever reading I do I'm not going to nail straight on. Giving myself credit for the readings where I do make connections allows me to come back faster when I don't have a reading that goes so well. When inevitably, I have a question where I feel blocked or a reading where I just can't do it. When I first started, I'd be up all night wondering why I wasn't able to connect. Now when it happens, I can let it go. I trust the Universe knows what it's doing, and I know that just because I can't connect one time, it doesn't mean that's it for me. It means that I'm human, and God is the only one who is 100% in charge. While I have this gift, it's up to God and the Universe to speak through me. I don't understand why I can't hear all of the time, but I do trust that when it happens, there is a reason for it beyond my control.
Believing in yourself makes accepting those times you don't succeed easier. You don't let it affect you because you know that you will bounce back. When you're able to celebrate your victories, you further that believe again and again.
Remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine's office kept getting everyone cakes? (She eventually eats a cake worth $$ and then tries to cover it up with an Entenmann's.) What is stopping you from celebrating your victories? Using a visual symbol with further your belief that you did well. While I don't advocate for eating cake every time you close a deal, whatever you feel connects with you- do it. Maybe it's buying yourself flowers. Maybe it's buying the good wine. Maybe it's taking a walk with the sun shining on your face. Maybe it's buying a cupcake from your favorite bakery. Allow yourself to feel joy for whatever it is that you did- even if it's just making it through the day without screaming at your kids or your partner.
I celebrate my joys with a happy dance. It doesn't come out very often, but when it does- I let it out. I jump up and down. I dance. I don't care who is watching. I am so in the moment of joy, I feel it through my whole body. It takes me back to being five again and my mom telling my I can have McDonald's for dinner, or ten when she told me I could have a friend spend the night. I connect with my childlike self with youthful abandon, and there is no doubt if you are watching me what I'm feeling.
Connect to that child within. How would s/he celebrate? How would s/he feel joy? Do that. Allow yourself to feel the light enter your body. Allow yourself to expand with happiness.
It is okay to celebrate your accomplishments.
It's okay to tell anyone who will listen your good news.
It is okay to feel pleasure from doing a good job.
Celebrate, and allow your happiness to catch.
I'm allowing my happiness to spread, although it's calmed down from the "happy dance" stage, I'm still excited at what the Universe has in store for me. What does the Universe have in store for you if you acknowledge your joy?