I noticed some movement beside me and looked up to see an older woman standing beside my chair. She was elegantly dressed and her face was animated.
“Excuse my interruption,” she said to our group. “I just want to tell you how much joy you have brought to me. I am a widow and this is the second cruise I have taken on my own and watching all of you dance has been the highlight of my trip. The way that you look at each other when you dance is wonderful, and you look like you are having so much fun! I just wanted to say thank you, you have been a joy to watch.”
As she walked away, I looked at the wide grins on my friends faces and noticed how touched and joyful I felt after her compliment. We all share a love of ballroom dance and had gone on a cruise together where we could capitalize on as many opportunities to dance as possible. It never occurred to me that anyone would be watching – we just danced because we love it!
In all my years of coaching and leading I can’t even count the number of times I have had someone tell me that they hide their joy, that they don’t want to seem too happy or joyful because other people might feel bad or be going through a tough time. While it’s wonderful to show compassion for others, by hiding your joy you may also be robbing them of their potential for joy. The truth is, you can’t get unhappy enough that it will make others happy! More often than not, your joy may be the very thing that pulls them towards their own.
Please stop hiding your joy, delight, pleasure, happiness, passion…we need as many examples and role models as we can get right now. Let’s all go and dance like nobody is watching!