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When I was a kid, I used to get excited when I got hurt.
I knew that when I was injured, I would get to show everyone around me that I went through pain and I survived. I loved the way it made me feel like a badass, but I especially loved the way it warranted extra attention.
“What happened?” “Are you okay?” “How can I help?”
With my head held high, I’d tell my friends how awful it was and how much pain I endured. We’d connect over my suffering and then, soon, we’d connect over theirs as we passed stories of our “trauma.”
I began to understand that showcasing my injuries drew people to me. I grew up with the understanding that when I could prove that I had suffered, I was worthy of love and attention.
Not much changed as I got older. I no longer got excited when I would get hurt (physically or emotionally) but I still viewed the experience as a ticket to connection—a badge of honor, if you will.
I came to understand that my suffering allowed others to see that just like them, I was a human experiencing all the tough sh*t humans experience. And when I wanted to create deeper connections with others, I would consciously choose pain. As a result, the people I was trying to connect with would feel my pain, and together, our hearts would droop.
It’s important to share our struggles. It’s essential for our health to understand that we are not alone when it comes to the suffering we endure throughout our lives. And I urge you to speak up about what hurts, but can you also speak up about what brings you pleasure?
How often are you actively suppressing your joy when searching for common ground between another? I imagine if you begin to look closely at your interactions with others, you’ll see that you’re not choosing joy.
But what if we did? What if, instead, we decided to connect over love, joy, pleasure, and ecstasy? Just like someone is able to feel our shared pain, they are also able to feel our shared joy. And I imagine, if more of us chose to connect over the things (little or big) that bring us pure joy, we would begin to amplify that experience for everyone around us. It’s a ripple effect.
The way we feel is infectious, and if we’re feeling happy and joyful, for f*ck’s sake, spread it!
It’s no doubt that the world has been collectively suffering for quite some time now. And I personally understand the guilt that can arise when it comes to sharing our joy during devastating times. But the more we suppress our joy, the more suffering we create. And that’s why I’m done consciously connecting through pain.
When I’m hurting, the last thing I want is to know that other people are hurting too. Yes, I understand the importance of recognizing that I’m not alone in my pain, but when I’m hurting, I don’t want to hurt more.
When I’m hurting, please share your joy. Let me be happy for you. Let me feel it.
Yes, some people will be triggered by your ability to share your joy, but many will be amazed. They’ll crave the joy you created and they’ll be inspired to create more.
So, if you’re reading this, this is your calling to allow your joy to be transmitted through your words, your expression, your presence. This is your reminder that suffering doesn’t have to be the bridge between you and another; the bridge can be your happiness.
Let’s amplify our experiences by sharing what brings us joy.
Let me know in the comments what brings you joy, pleasure, love, and ecstasy.
I’ll go first: