I was feeling blue the other day and logged onto Facebook. (Usually a terrible idea) But the first thing I came across was a posting from a friend in Los Angeles. “I don’t usually toot my own horn,” he said, “but I just won Teacher of the Year at my school!” I went on to watch the short video celebrating him and my heart swelled.
I immediately started a new thread:
“I love it when people toot their own horn. My friends don’t do it enough! Tell me one thing you are proud of right now. Toot people! Toot!”
I watched as dozens of people share their victories: “I got an article published in the Huffington Post! I’m having my first art show in SOHO tonight! I got through another day. I’m home alone with two puking kids and I’m rocking it. I kicked cancer…” The whole range was there. And with each reply, my heart felt more and more full, a genuine joy moving through me.
And I remembered that there is a name for this – Mudita. Or sympathetic joy. The genuine pleasure you get from celebrating others. The deep joy that finds you when someone you love is happy. The vicarious joy you experience when someone shares a story about something great in their life.
It also reminded me of something important – that my heart is good. That my heart wants to celebrate others and to feel joy. That my most natural inclination is actually toward well-being- both for myself and others. In a world where we are prone to not-enoughness- where we can go on Facebook and feel triggered, jealous, inferior… it was so good to allow the successes of others to buoy me, to literally pull me out of a dark place.
Their lights shining actually allowed me to find mine.
So I’ll put it out here as well. What are you proud of right now? Toot people! Toot!