Usually, when we consider events in life that really shape and mold us, it’s something hard. A death of a loved one, a heartbreak, an illness. These events cause for major emotions that rock us to the core and show us what we are really made of. And it stays with us. Sharp in our memories.
But what about moments of pure joy? Events that bring us so much happiness, laughter, and cause for celebration? Could there be just as much to learn from those? I submit that there is.
Happy times are a little less glamorous. They don’t shake us in quite the same way. But when considered, they can also house opportunities of immense growth.
Learning doesn’t always have to be hard. Growth isn’t always painful. Therapy doesn’t always have to consist of digging skeletons out of the closet.
When I was in New York in June, I stumbled into one of the most profound and joyous events of my life. It seemed like a simple enough evening. I would accompany my friend Nichole to a photoshoot where a photographer, Jelena, was featuring artists and other creatives on what made them tick. She would interview them and then douse them in confetti for the shoot as a way to celebrate what brings them joy.
It’s called The Confetti Project, and I offered to help throw the confetti. I mean, why not?
I should have known better because halfway through the shoot, Nichole pulls me into the magic. Pretty soon we are covered in glittering gold and orange confetti and laughing. The laughter turns into cathartic tears of joy and letting go. Embracing the moment. Being 30-year-old women jumping up and down, throwing confetti, celebrating all that we are and all that we’ve been through. Allowing our vulnerability to be captured on camera.
Photo by Jelena Aleksich
It honestly changed my life. I love acting like a dork and embarrassing myself, but I am very conservative about certain things. My body and body image is a major one. I dress on the modest side and can be pretty insecure about my pale skin and curves. I’ve come a LONG way in this area and am still getting more and more comfortable in my own skin.
But I would only dream of putting myself in front of a camera with so little reservation. With little to no care of how I look, what I’m wearing, and what would end up on that camera.
It was beautiful and liberating and a hell of a good time. And I have those two gorgeous ladies to thank for pulling me in and pulling out the joy I needed to feel.
But magical nights with dear friends and confetti isn’t everyone’s cup of cut up paper. I get that. So the main takeaway for you from my random tale is to not always rely on hard times to teach you.
Think back on what you have learned from your moments of extreme joy. It can be as simple as pointing out what exactly brings you joy and doing more of it. Or you can dig deeper and see a part of you that was brought out that you didn’t know you had. My time for yoga and self-care is a part of learning through joy for me, as well. Perhaps that is where you can start.
Seek joy regularly. Do things just for fun. Because you like it. Because it makes you laugh. Celebrate the big and little things. Use it as therapy.
There is much to celebrate, even during hard seasons of life. Make time for it. Put it in your calendar if you need to. It is just as important as everything else on your to-do list.