If I ever get a tattoo, I will have to work this symbol in somewhere alongside a dragonfly:
It’s mudita, or the practice of unselfish joy. Being able to be truly, genuinely happy for another’s success or accomplishment is something, I think, that we as a culture don’t really understand. Remember the “take your sunshine somewhere else” story? Far too many of us see another’s happiness as diminishing our own well-being; we’ve somehow gotten the idea that there’s only a limited amount of good to go around, and that someone else’s joy means there’s less available to us.
While that may be true of things, it’s not true of energy, and it’s certainly not true of joy. I am consistently astounded when people give qualified congratulations to others, or when they see someone else’s accomplishment as a judgment (and never a favorable one) on their own status or performance or situation.
This afternoon, I’m headed to Boston to pick up Carson from the airport. He’s coming north to have a final interview with a prestigious private school in New England, and I’ve managed to get him to agree to let me drive him around and keep him at Chez Chili on Friday night, during which time I’m going to talk him into taking the freaking job, already; not only is it a stellar opportunity (and one he’s been pining after for as long as I’ve known him), but it gets him into my orbit (we’ll be less than an hour’s drive from one another, instead of separated by a time zone and half the country).
I could not be more excited for my friend. Despite the fact that I’m still waiting on a phone call from my own job search (which, I’ve convinced myself, is going to be a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ call), I don’t begrudge Eddie one single bit of his good fortune. In fact, I’m finding that my celebrating this opportunity for/with him is going a long way toward quelling my own anxiety and misgivings about my immediate professional future. I understand that his joy and excitement are adding to the Universe – and, by extension, to my own well-being – and that it takes absolutely nothing from me.
Rereading this, I see that my joy is not entirely unselfish, but I make no apology for that.