I have this friend. Her name is Chausey Leebron. Chausey and I did our undergraduate at an arts conservatory together and then reconnected, oddly enough, 12 years later while getting our Masters in counseling psychology in the same program.
Chausey always shined brightly. She actually looks like an angel—I’m not kidding—blonde, stunning, radiant, shining.
I always wondered if she was too good to be real. And back when we were in school together, I admit I was jealous of her.
She laughed out loud with such joy and happiness, I questioned what was she was hiding. I couldn’t believe someone could be as light-filled as she was. But later, I realized she’s legitimately one of the most positive people I’ve ever known.
Last year, I started to become in awe of her social media posts. Not just because her pictures of her and her beautiful family uplift my day but also because she gets so many comments from people who want to share in her joy. But it makes sense doesn’t it?
Joy begets joy.
Chausey responds to each and every comment with such beautiful gratitude and love—and more than that she specifically meets each person uniquely and individually with loving, heart-felt, supportive, creative communication.
There isn’t a post I post that Chausey doesn’t say something beautifully positive and reinforcing—and she does this for everyone else as well.
In our first year of school, Chausey and I learned a series of basic communication skills.
One of those basic skills was the skill of prizing—positively reinforcing people to feel good about themselves.
The purpose of the skill is to feel appreciative joy, true joy for another’s happiness and to share in that.
In Buddhism there are four brahma viharas: Four virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them.
The four are as follows:
- loving kindness
- appreciative or empathetic joy
- equanimity or balance
Vicarious joy for another comes from the pleasure of delighting in other people’s well being. It is a pure joy, unadulterated by self-interest. When we are happy for the joy others feel, we are no longer succumbing to jealousy or envy. We are freed from our own suffering.
It is the appreciative joy we feel at the successes and good fortune of others. And it’s available to everyone at all times, regardless of our own circumstances.
The more deeply one drinks of this spring, the more surely one fills with abundant happiness, and the more bountiful it becomes to relish in the joy of other people.
Joy is also traditionally regarded as the most difficult to cultivate of the four brahma viharas. To show joy is to celebrate happiness and achievement in others, even when we are facing tragedy ourselves.
I knew last year Chausey was privately having some of her own painful issues, yet this still didn’t stop her from taking so much time to be so generous to so many people.
It’s hard when we feel lack, or a sense of insufficiency or suffering to revel in the joys of another. But I think we all have something to learn from Chausey. And I just wanted to take this moment today to thank her.
Wishing you appreciative joy!