Joy as a Gift: The Transformative Potential of Acts of Kindness and Altruism
Cultivating joy as a gift that can be offered to oneself and others can be potentially emancipatory and transformative and has helped me strengthen my overall resilience contributing to my well-being.
Joy is a profound and sought-after emotion. It is a state of being characterised by a feeling of great happiness and delight. Joy is also a state that can contribute to our mental and emotional well-being and that of the people around us.
In fact, joy as “sympathetic joy” (mudita), meaning to be happy and rejoice when others around you experience happiness and well-being, is considered to be one of the “Four Immeasurable”, the others being loving-kindness (metta, maitri), compassion (karuna) and equanimity (Wallace, 2010). Further, Joy is also considered to be one of the virtues mental capacities called “The Seven Factors of Awakening” (Thiradhammo, 2012).
Despite this, we often overlook the importance of joy in our lives and view it as something that is outside of our control, as something that either happens to us by chance in lucky moments or as something that we have to deserve, that we get as the fruit, the reward, of good behaviour. This perspective on joy can be unhelpful. Why?
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