Part of my series: Feel Better Now: Games to play to take the pressure off your creative work.
Sometimes when I’m in that liminal space where I have a few minutes and don’t feel very inspired, I go on social media and just LIKE things. I leave encouraging comments, praise people’s efforts, revel in their accomplishments. I write the kind of words I would love for someone to write to me one day.
The only catch is, while I’m doing this, I try not to have any attachment to how the other person will receive my message. I try to keep my focus solely on how fun it feels to me as I’m spreading my appreciation with no expectations for a response to my communication. (Although it's an added bonus when I get one!)
It’s amazing how, as I practice this, momentum builds, and I find my heart lifting and a little smile spreading across my face. My delight in other people’s efforts swells and I start to get this overwhelming sense of the goodness of the world in general; in the innocence and poignancy of how people are out there expressing themselves, putting their hearts on the line, and following their dreams in so many different and unique ways.
I found there was a name for what I was doing when I watched Brene Brown’s “Atlas of the Heart” mini-series on HBO Max, which is based on her best-selling book that maps emotions and the language of the human experience. The new word Brene brought to my attention was:
Freudenfreude- The lovely enjoyment of another’s success.
Unfortunately, many of us are probably more familiar with this term’s opposite, Schadenfreude, which refers to the unattractive human tendency to take pleasure in the misery of others. (I admit to feeling twinges of this from time to time. But since the definition calls it a human tendency, I don’t beat up on myself because I am human after all!)
Research shows the freudenfreude is mutually reinforcing and fosters greater intimacy in relationships. They’ve even developed ways to help people increase the freudenfreude experience in their life. One of processes is called “shoy” (shared joy) which is intentionally sharing the joy of someone relating a success story by showing interest and asking follow-up questions. I guess I was actually “shoying” all that time online and didn’t even know it!
But, as I said earlier, I wasn’t love bombing or “shoying” social media posts with the primary intention of building relationships or for any other external outcome. I was doing it because it felt so good to me. (I guess I’m just selfish like that!) Inspirational speaker Abraham Hicks says:
If you’re not feeling good at the praise or positive attention another is receiving, then you are in a spot where you can’t let good things in for yourself. When you are thrilled for someone else, you are on the brink of wonderful things!
So, let’s get out there and try our best to rejoice in our fellow humans’ successes. (Or at the very least click a simple LIKE button and actually mean it as you do.) Not only will you feel awesome in the moment, but the side effect of lifting your vibration is there’s a good chance it will send your own creativity soaring. Yes, others will get a boost from the good vibes you share, but the person who will ultimately receive the most benefit from that positivity will be YOU.