If you stop wearing the dress you love because your “friend” passively-aggressively criticized it, she wins; she controls you (and she knows it). So does your competitive co-worker if their snarky comment about your project idea diminishes how much pride and excitement you feel about it.
It’s easy to start hiding ourselves to “stay safe” from having our joyful moments shattered, but as Brown says in her book, “Courage is telling our story, not being immune to criticism. Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand your sacred ground… Sacrificing who we are for the sake of what other people think just isn’t worth it.”
4. Increase your joy with gratitude.
If you only have one light of joy glowing in your heart, it’s all the more devastating when someone tries to snuff it out. One of the best ways to cultivate shame resilience is by increasing your stores of inner joy.
And according to Brown, the single most powerful and effective way to flood your life with authentic joy is with gratitude.
“In 12 years of research,” she explains, “I’ve never interviewed a single person who talks about the capacity to really experience and soften into joy who does not actively practice gratitude. Period.” The thing is — we think if our life is joyful, then we’ll feel grateful. But it’s actually the opposite: when you practice gratitude, feelings of joy grow exponentially.
But having an “attitude of gratitude” won’t cut it. Gratitude is an action, one you must practice regularly and tangible. So, write your daily gratitudes down in a journal, create a ritual with your spouse or your kids, and each says what you’re grateful for that day as you say goodnight to each other. Doing so will fill your heart with so much light and joy, the sting of petty haters won’t last long.
5. Protect other people’s happiness.
Here’s the deal: you can’t complain about how harsh and horrible it is for someone to burst your joy bubble, and then turn around and cruelly do the same to others. You know how lousy it feels to have someone take a swipe at your happiness, so doing that to others is just… mean.
So your husband laughed “too loud” at a friend‘s joke. Big deal. So your friend felt excited about an achievement you think is completely stupid. So what? Don’t trash talk other people’s moments of lightness. The world has enough cruelty and misery in it.
Defend other people’s joy like it’s your own. As Brown says, “Courage is contagious.” Every time you stand up to defend joy (yours or someone else’s) you give other people permission to do the same.
Are you ready to bounce back when some one steals your joy?
Written by Cris Gladly Originally appeared on Yourtango.com Republished with permission