The concept of Mudita has been hanging around in my brain since I read the book The White Mary by Kira Salak. One of the characters, Seb, describes Mudita as, “A Sanskrit word meaning sincere rejoicing for another’s good fortune and success.”
This seems like a great thing to aspire to. But is it really possible? I think that before we can be unselfishly happy for others we must be able to be happy for ourselves, to try to rid ourselves of the fear that, “I’m not good enough.” For me to be happy for others I must first acknowledge my tendency to compare, and my always-lurking fear that I’m not going to measure up.
In Carry On Warrior: Thoughts On Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton, the author discusses gifts. We all have gifts to share with the world and the trick is to recognize our unique gifts and the gifts of others and celebrate them together. I think this is a type of Mudita in which we can celebrate others without feeling “less than”.
What a wonderful way to look at things. My friend Kelley is a fabulous hostess, great problem solver (it’s awesome to have a social worker for a friend) and is always giving of herself by joining committees and groups at work and in her church. Instead of thinking to myself ‘I hate having people over. I suck at it. My house is always a mess. I hate joining things.’ I can think, ‘Wow, what a gift my friend has and I am so thankful she invites me over to her Christmas party every year, and I can enjoy her beautiful house and food and friends.’
My sister Sarah is an awesome cook and super involved organized mom. Instead of thinking, ‘I am a crappy mom because I order out more than I cook, and my kids watch way too much TV and play way too many computer games.’ I can think, ‘What a wonderful gift my sister has. I am so thankful when she brings me delicious soup when I’m sick and that I can go enjoy her kids in all their wonderful sports, dance and singing productions (while my kids watch TV).’
Caitlin is a brave, outspoken woman who is able to accomplish whatever she put her mind to. She is an amazing advocate for her family, friends and the animals of the world. When she worked at a local shelter, we all adopted a couple of animals and continue to do so. If you ever need a kick ass letter to the editor written on a subject near and dear to your heart, she’s your girl.
Carol is another super organized mom and confident outgoing person. She doesn’t seem to second-guess, worry and doubt every thing and every decision as I often do. She is politically involved and can always articulate her thoughts and opinions so clearly and intelligently.
My sister in law, Christie is the most caring, unselfish and positive person I know. I have a card from her that I carry in my workbag always. She has gone through so many things, the latest being cancer treatment, and yet she would always choose to help someone else rather than have the focus on her.
Tracy is the type of person who knows everyone and makes people feel important. When I have been out somewhere with her, she is always the first to introduce herself to people. When she talks to someone, the person can tell that she is genuinely interested and happy to hear what he or she has to say. She’s a great listener.
And so if I can celebrate the gifts of others I can also celebrate my own gifts. I am a creative problem solver, especially as a teacher. I am a thoughtful gift giver. Reading is my passion and I especially enjoy matching people with books I think they’ll love.
Thank you for sharing your gifts with me, my dear friends. Mudita…