Recently, one of my oldest and most admired friends and I were chatting. She filled me in on some amazing things that have happened in her life since we last spoke. The word amazing, cannot truly capture the news she shared. At one point I even said “What you have is better than winning the lottery!”
I couldn’t hold back when she told me the news. I had to raise my voice and my tone with complete exuberance! “I’m so happy! That is wonderful! I’m so happy!” I felt my physiology change with a racing heart beat and a stomach turn over. I was immersed in her JOY as if it were my own.
I noticed that when I repeated the phrase “I’m so happy!” I felt like was also supposed to say “for you!” “I’m so happy for you!” But every time I said it, those words “for you” never came. We basked in that celebratory connection and eventually ended the call.
Upon reflection, I realized that my elation was not “for” her. It was just pure love and beauty and miracle all enraptured together like we were breathing the same oxygen. It wasn’t “her” air. I was happy WITH her. The visceral experience was taking place in my heart and my physical body as if it were my own. This was “our” miracle.
Why not feel it all when it comes to sharing our lives with others? Why limit our joy or compassion by restricting it the assignment of others? “I’m so happy…FOR YOU!” “I’m so sorry…FOR YOU!” “I’m so excited…FOR YOU!”
By placing a full stop after each of those expressions and simply sharing the experience it becomes exponentially more powerful. When we experience the victories, miracles and tragedies of those we are close to, we expand the landscape of possibilities. We broaden our own lives with more to celebrate (and yes, more to mourn) but we do it together. Neither pleasure nor pain are enriched when experienced alone. But there is a win/win when we engage.
Next time someone shares good news, try saying “Congratulations! I’m so happy!” And see if it feels different than limiting the experience to the other person and not including your own soul.