[SPONSORED] In our society’s ever-hungry quest for happiness, I wonder why it is that so many times we adults seem focused on killing other people’s happiness.
In this month’s Fishful Thinking newsletter, Dr. Karen Reivich talks about Joy Multipliers and Joy Thieves, or, as I like to call them, Fun Squashers. Joy Thieves (or Joy Postponers) are those who either take the happy situation but diffuse it or downplay it, or who turn around and interject their own experience, emotions, or advice. Joy Multipliers, on the other hand, are those who, according to the article, “actively respond to another’s good news (e.g., asking questions, sharing their enthusiasm, being engaged and focused, helping the other person to relive and savor the positive experience).” Dr. Reivich contends that the research shows it is when we are Joy Multipliers that we have the opportunity to strengthen our relationships with others.
I want my children to grow up being positive, confident, exuberant contributors to society. I want them to know it’s more than ok to shout their happiness from the mountaintops, and that means being able to be a Joy Multiplier and focus on not only letting them revel in the moment but in encouraging that positivity to continue and flourish. While I am very much a Joy Multiplier with my kids (which may explain why we have a loud car/house – we’re so busy being SO. VERY. EXCITED. about everything together! ;) ), I have to be honest in the realization that, as much as I like to believe I am always 100% fully supportive and engaged, I am often times a Joy Thief with my adult colleagues and friends.
I know this, because I have a few friends who are constant Joy Thieves in my life, and they’ve helped me realize how it feels to receive those type of reactions. For example, whenever I share something positive that happened, I can count on them to fire back with an upbeat but very self-focused comment that really, after the brief “congrats!” is all about them and their experiences. I also have a few friends who are the type of Joy Thieves who like to comment with downers, point out the errors in my post/email, or point out negatives.
Do their comments strengthen our relationship? No, and in fact, I’ve realized there are a couple of friends I have stopped sharing positive news with because of their typical reactions. Oh, that makes me sad. Shouldn’t we all feel comfortable sharing positive news? Why do we feel as adults we have to temper our happiness, limit our joy, or minimize the fabulousness of a situation? We have ONE life, people! Shouldn’t we be living loudly any and all moments of sheer JOY in our lives, and helping others live out theirs with a simple but hearty “Hooray!”
I love Dr. Reivich’s article because it’s a simple reminder to check ourselves before we react. I wonder what kind of amazingly crazy happy world we would create if we all focused more on being Joy Multipliers versus Fun Squashers.
Disclosure: I am a Faculty Mom for the Pepperidge Farm Fishful Thinking program and may receive payment incentives for my involvement. That said, every word I write is from my heart and uninfluenced by anyone else. If you are a parent interested in positive parenting articles, activities and community, I highly recommend checking out the Fishful Thinking program.