Appreciative Joy

Joy is a state of happiness or contentment. As we practice experiencing greater joy in our lives, we can extend this joy into the life of others. Appreciative joy is a type of joy that is experienced when we genuinely appreciate and delight in the happiness, success, and good fortune of others. 

We have many opportunities to feel joy for others and to extend our desire for their joy to grow and continue. However, we can be held back by feelings of envy or jealousy about their good fortune, and we can become stuck in comparisons wishing we had something more. 

What comes to your mind as you drive past a beautiful new house or see a brand-new expensive car? What about when a colleague or friend achieves a great success or promotion? Many of us might experience thoughts of judgement or feelings of jealousy. We may experience critical thoughts about our perceived lack of success or harbor negative attitudes. We may seek to rationalize or struggle to justify our own decisions and behaviors or become discouraged with our perceived shortcomings as we judge ourselves.

Meditating with a focus on feelings of joy for others who have experienced good fortune can take us outside of ourselves and expand our capacity for appreciative joy. Likewise, we can practice directing our attention towards others with appreciative joy as we practice gratitude for the good fortune of others. 

Appreciative joy has the practical benefit of helping to promote a psychologically positive outlook toward ourselves as well as sense of interconnectedness. When we are feeling good about ourselves internally, we don’t have to compare ourselves to others externally and we naturally wish others to be happy as well.  

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Psychologist

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Published by tlindquistpsyd


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