As I started to write this post, I sighed heavily. This is an issue that has been bothering me for a long time now because I just find it so disappointing. You see, it seems that every day I come face to face with the Joy Stealers of the world. I bet you know some of them too. Sadly, they seem to be all too common these days.
You post on Facebook that you’re incredibly excited because you just bought your tickets to a movie you’ve been waiting to see for months. Joy Stealer: Oh I saw that last night. It’s the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
You tweet out a quote, saying it’s from your favourite author. Joy Stealer: Ugh. She’s such a hack. No writing ability at all. You post a photo on Instagram, saying this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Joy Stealer: Oh it’s so overrated. Why would you waste your time there?
Some people are such consistent Joy Stealers that when I get a notification saying they’ve commented on my post, I always expect it to be negative.
There are some people I hide on Facebook whenever an awards show comes along because I know that throughout the whole thing, their only commentary will be to criticize the way people are dressed, their hair, and makeup.
And over the weekend, I put a disclaimer on a post to try to put the Joy Stealers on notice. I was asking who else was watching the Royal Wedding and said, “If you don’t care for royal weddings, no need to comment. This is my fun thing and I’m going to enjoy it.”
My parents taught me at a very early age that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. If you know me, you know that I’m not perfect and I don’t always follow that rule.
But I really do try hard to only add to a conversation in a positive way – or at the very least, in a respectful way. And before I comment, I consider this, “Is my comment useful?”. If you already bought tickets to see a movie, why bother telling you that I thought it was terrible? When you start talking about how you think Harry Potter is the most amazing piece of literature ever, is it at all helpful for me to point out why I think it’s not?
Obviously, there are situations where opposing opinions, are actually a positive thing. They can be educational, stretching people’s views and perspectives. We need to teach critical thinking and that requires criticism.
But must that extend to everything in our lives? I say no. When I see a recipe on social media that doesn’t look appetizing, I just scroll past it and say nothing. If I see that you’re all excited about going to a movie that you couldn’t pay me to go see, I scroll past and say nothing.
But more than that, if I see that you are absolutely thrilled because you are going to visit the world’s largest bathtub, I am going to try to stop and say, hey, I hope you have a great time!
Just think of what an amazing world this would be if we all spent more time saying “That’s wonderful. I’m so happy for you!” and less time saying, “Ugh, Why would you want to do that? It’s so stupid!”.
Think about how much better YOUR world would be if you counted your blessings, looked for the good and the positive, and walked away from the negative. I do believe that it’s possible to build a better world by speaking up about important things, celebrating the good and positive, and walking away from the unnecessary negative.
Oh and by the way, I call them Joy Stealers, but really, in my case, they are attempted Joy Stealers. I don’t let them get in between me and my happiness.
Say what you want but I’m going to enjoy my favourite moments in life. I’m going to embrace them and savour them. I will carry them with me in my memory, so that I can look back on them and smile.
You can choose your joy. Walk the journey YOU want to walk. Wear your happiness like armor and it will protect you from the Joy Stealers of the world.