One of my favorite words in the world is mudita… It is a Sanskrit word that means sympathetic joy or vicarious joy.
It’s the genuine pleasure we get from celebrating others.
It’s the deep joy we experience when someone we love is happy.
It’s the vicarious joy that arises when someone shares about something great in their life.
As an example, imagine a big fluffy dog that just arrives at the beach. Can you imagine the glee with which they run toward the water and all over the sand? Did the mere thought just bring a smile to your face? This is mudita. Isn’t it wonderful?
Recently, a friend prefaced her share with, “Not to toot my own horn but…” and then went on to talk about something totally wonderful that happened to her! We have grown up thinking that it’s impolite to share about our successes and victories. Women especially. We feel that we need to dim down, not get too big for our britches, not brag... or people won’t like us.
This might keep us safe, but it also keeps us small.
This is one of my biggest core wounds. You know how it goes. My two best friends turning against me in grade school very suddenly in a one-day-you’re-in-the-next-day-you’re-out kind of abruptness. Without any explanation, I was left to come up with my own – Don’t shine too bright or people will hate you. They will turn against you. Stay small.
Ugh. It’s hard to write these words. My inner critic is having a field day – Are we not over this yet???!! That happened in the 5th grade! Are we still talking about this??
Apparently we are. Ha!
But back to mudita. Cultivating mudita is a buddhist practice… it grows our compassion, it opens our hearts, it leads to wisdom.
I actually love it when people toot their own horn. They/you should do it more often. I want everyone to toot away! I want you to toot right now. Let’s create a culture of mudita where we delight in each other’s happiness. Where we celebrate each other’s success. Where your joy is my joy and your success is mine too. Let’s inspire each other + lift each other up, shall we?
Tell me, what small or large thing are you celebrating right now? What are you proud of?
I’ll start. One of my photographs was in a fancy pants magazine this month!! Lapham’s Quarterly!
I’m also very proud of my most recent work in black + white. I’ve been breaking some new ground with my portrait sessions and feeling excited and inspired! Toot! 🙂