The Joy Factor

What brings you joy? Do you ever ask yourself that question?

I don’t know about you, but somehow I get the sense that we place a cap on our joy, as if we aren’t allowed to be too joyful in case something goes wrong. As if we’d be hogging the joy pool or something and that we’d be cheating someone else if we had too much of it.

An innate optimist, I tend to find joy in most anything – the chirping of a bird, the smile of a French garbageman, the beam of sunlight straining through the clouds. I see joy in the howling wind (how impressive you are!) and the gleam of a freshly mopped kitchen floor.

And yet there are moments when I wonder if all this joy is rightfully mine, as if there is a finite amount of it somewhere that only a few can have at a time.

Am I overthinking this?

Whenever I share these thoughts with my German friends, they remind me that most people are envious. I hadn’t really ever thought about envy much until I moved here. It is a culturally based explanation for why most people don’t smile in the streetcar. But envious of what? That they haven’t found their own inner joy? That they think joy is reserved for someone ‘better off’? And what does being ‘better off’ really mean?

Attitude determines your altitude. Joy is free and can be found everywhere. It starts with each of us.

So let’s form an infinity pool of joy for everyone to en-joy.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – for those of you who celebrate it, spread the love. And for those of you who don’t, spread the love anyway.

The world could use it. Now more than ever.


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