What makes you happy and brings you joy is not the same for everyone else.
For over 28 years now I have been participating in an interactive medieval reenactment society. Through this organization, I have made amazing friends, met people from around the world, and developed some really cool and fun hobbies.
Over the last few years, there have been some really positive changes to the organization. Efforts to increase inclusivity and better police harassment and bullying have been occurring, for example.
However, people have also been arguing more vehemently when their paths cross in very different ways. For example, some demand more historical accuracy and less anachronism. Others demand more paths of recognition in the awards system. Some just play the game and want to have fun doing it.
Rather than just go with the variations in theme, people get into heated debates, blast at one another, and fight — usually online — about who’s way is right and who’s is wrong.
The most important takeaway I get from this is to be mindful of other people’s joy. Most importantly, don’t stomp on it if it differs from your own.
I do not dress in a completely historically accurate manner for numerous reasons. Neither do I practice an entirely medieval rapier combat (fencing) technique. I relish my friends and the time I get to spend with them, and that is my joy.
Overall, there is room for everyone and their unique paths in life.
This is an abundant Universe
When you look at there being only a finite amount of room for any given thing you create limitations. This often leads to artificial lack and scarcity. Before you know it people are competing over this, that, and the other thing. Competing unnecessarily, I might add.
Unless this is a fencing bout, tennis match, spelling bee, soccer game or the like, you are not in competition. There is more than enough good, joy, and positivity to go around. The Universe is abundant, especially in these regards.
What brings me joy may not do the same for you. I accept that some of my other friends participating in the medieval fencing aspect of the game prefer more historical styles and recreation. You can practice Capo Ferro, Spanish rapier, and even katana or two-handed sword combat side-by-side. As I explain to every new student the more experienced fencers can teach the same thing 5 or 6 different ways.
What brings me joy may not bring you joy. And that’s ok. Yet people have a tendency to forget that, not be mindful of it, and then get into ridiculous arguments, debates, and fights over who’s joy is most valid.
The answer is yours. And mine. His. And hers. All are valid, and there is room for each.
Lack and scarcity are artificial
Even natural resources that you may be told are finite aren’t. Sure, someday there will not be enough coal, oil, or natural gas to power our current equipment that needs it. So what? Alternatives will be found or already are being developed.
Solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources are still in their infancy. Eventually, there may be cold fusion and other nearly inexhaustible power supply options. Science fiction has suggested antimatter, dark matter, controlled singularities, as well as other notions that could totally be possible someday.
My point here is that lack and scarcity are artificial. One resource may run out but it can and will be replaced by another.
Love, joy, contentment, and all of these intangibles are not finite matters. You cannot run out of them, and any lack of them is artificial.
Hence why you should be mindful of other people’s joy rather than critical of it. Let people be happy, have nice things, even when they differ from your joy and desires.
The exception to this is when someone’s joy comes from harming, hurting, and wrecking the lives of other people. If the suffering of other people is what makes you most happy (and I am not talking about the occasional schadenfreude of watching someone get what they deserve) that’s not a good thing. Nobody should be treated as lesser, made to feel inferior, or otherwise harmed for another’s good.
Joy can come from little things
All of the big things in life are made up of smaller things. This is why, for example, working to change a long-ingrained habit needs to start small.
Many people look at joy as being this large, all-encompassing notion. But it’s not. Joy can come in small doses, from little experiences, and it is ultimately empowering.
Listening to one of my cats purr, feeling the sun on my face, holding hands with my wife, writing, and reading all bring me joy. They make me feel good, and when I feel good I am better empowered to work with my mindfulness.
Being mindful is a matter of being aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions. That awareness tends to be easier to tune into when you are feeling positive.
Mindfulness is primarily about yourself. But it does not nor cannot ignore the world around you. Nor should it. If you are unaware of the environment you are in and it’s unhealthy you won’t take action to change it.
This is why it’s important to be mindful of other people’s joy. When your paths in life inevitably cross there is more than enough room for all. There are not a finite, limited number of paths in life. They are many and varied and abundant.
The joy of another doesn’t lessen your own. Whether that joy is a big thing or a little thing it’s a matter of abundance and is going to differ from person to person.
Be mindful of criticism
Everyone has opinions. That’s part of human nature. When you think you explore ideas, some tangible and some intangible. Those ideas and what is joyful for each of us is unique, variable, and valid.
There are a number of ultra-rich assholes being disgustingly greedy, selfish, and destructive. Not all of the ultra-rich, but we tend to lump them together. This also can be applied to religious groups where a number are doing awful things; industries where more appear to be doing harm than good; and so on. It becomes really easy to be hyper-critical.
Turning that on people and their joy is ludicrous. Again, so long as another person’s joy is doing no intentional harm to anyone else let them have it. Maybe you do not approve for whatever reason, perhaps it’s not how you would approach a similar situation. But that doesn’t make it inferior or less than your joy.
Be mindful of other people’s joy. Your paths will inevitably cross other people’s paths, and there is plenty of abundance available for us all. You and I are different, but neither of us is greater nor lesser than the other. We are both worthy and deserving of the joy in our lives.
What brings you joy?
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter, as does whatever brings us joy.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on January 29, 2020.