Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Joy to the World

The hardest things for me to share, even with my nearest and dearest, are the good things. I admit it doesn't make much sense that joyful, hopeful, exciting things would be hard to say out loud- wouldn't sharing them ALSO share and increase the joy, the hope, the excitement?

Well, sometimes. It depends on whom you share it with. My deepest joys have always been secret joys, held close to my heart. It's why I don't like talking too much about Harry Potter or about my favorite music. It's why I never liked watching my favorite TV shows with my family, and why I liked to hole up in my bedroom, condemning all intrusion, to read.

This is the life of a bookworm-turned-social butterfly. I take immense joy in having people around me, and am fueled by connection with others. In grand social events, though, I'm sharing only a piece of myself: Party Sarah, Funny Sarah, In-charge Sarah, Helpful Sarah. In intimate social events, all attendees (most likely) have been vetted by years of friendship. But sharing things that bring me true joy? That involves incredible vulnerability; that joy comprises my deepest sense of self. So when others respond flippantly, casually, or, heaven forbid, mockingly, it's not my public persona or one facet of my personality they are tossing aside, but the most authentic concept I have of me.

In fact, sharing this on the internet is a bit easier than sharing with my loved ones in person. Because their opinions matter so much to me, and because I tend to make assumptions about how they'll respond, I tend to keep the truly good, exciting things to myself rather than have someone respond "wrong."

I'm not ready to declare this system of thinking as "bad;" after all, I do believe it's important to keep boundaries around the important things when you know that someone else will rain on your parade. But I do think it's something to reflect on, in terms of developing more and better ways to savor my joy in life and share the joy (either particularly, or just a general cheerfulness) with the world at large.


  1. THIS. I recently made a big career decision and, after thoroughly researching all aspects, I told my two best friends. They were so excited and happy and it was so reinforcing that it made me feel good about my decision. When I told my mom, she suggested that I keep my options open...deflated.
    For me it's really about owning my joy. Whether it's over the big things or even just liking a silly TV show - that's how I feel and I'm awesome so my feelings are awesome too and poo on what everyone else thinks!
    It's a work in a progress.

    1. Definitely a work in progress for me, too! I think family can get wrapped up in what you used to be or used to like or what they expected to see from you, which complicates things. To me, friends see the present me more clearly. It's a big thing for me to share happy news with more than just my partner or my bffs.