We are all familiar with the phrase Grave Robber, a crime in which an individual raids a tomb to steal artifacts or personal effects from the deceased. Just to clarify that is a crime in which a soul that has passed on is robbed of material thing. However, when an individual steals the joy, a very important component of mental health, from another soul no crime is committed but the repercussions to the victim are far more damaging.
Joy Robbing can happen at any time and by various means; here are a few of the classic joy robbing techniques & examples …..
The Blindsided Joy Snatcher: It is the beginning of your baby shower and one of the ladies attending show up and announces she is pregnant.
The Classic Underminer: You studied for weeks for an exam; you get it back, and aced it! You can’t wait to share the results with the world and the first comment you receive on Facebook is, “I know, it was so easy, I thing like everyone got an A”.
Perpetual Glass is Half Empty Robber: You had a long day, dog got out, kids were bickering, etc. but you made it happen! You made dinner, got to the dishes, kids homework completed, went over spelling words, got kiddos to extracurricular activities, clothes sat out for next day, vacuum, etc. You completed 101 tasks that day and are feeling good, then your husband calls and inquiries about tasks number 102 that you didn’t complete.
The One Upper Joy Thief: You took all your kids to the doctors at the same time to get vaccines, it was a nightmare but you survived and came out of it stronger & are feeling pretty good, confident. You share your story with a friend and she does the classic one upper move, “You only took 3, I tool ALL 5 of mine to the doctor that was the worst!”
After having your sunshine virtually stolen and joy hijacked you are often left feeling insignificant, unimportant, etc. which could potentially result in a downward self-deprecating spiral if you are not careful. So how does one come out of a Joy robbing unscathed? Honestly I am not certain if you can survive a joy robbing entirely unscathed, once words are said & heard they tend to reverberate in our minds and can never be unheard which is why it is so important that we use our filter of compassion before we utter a word.
Here are 4 steps to help you recover from a Joy Robbing:
- Assess the source: They say misery loves company. Turns out those lacking Joy are eager to invite others to their party of despair. I am reminded of the quote, “It’s not you, it’s me…it’s what I am going through”, the classic breakup excuse. Well this holds true to Joy robbers too, it is them, it is what they are going through. A lot are insecure, terrified of being their authentic self, incapable of humbling themselves, or perhaps even victims of a life filled with joy robbing, it is less painful for them to tear down your scaffolding to joy and watch you fall then to add to the scaffolding and build you up further towards your sunshine.
- Forgive: If you hold a grudge towards your joy robber than you are no better than them. And what’s worse, not only did they rob you of that initial joy but they will continue to rob you of your future joy.
- Forget!? Don’t Dwell: Here’s the kicker, no matter how hard you try you can never forget. Once words are said & heard they tend to reverberate in our minds and can never be unheard. But we must quiet that person’s voice reverberating in our heads, we cannot allow it to become a part of who we are, work on turning down the volume, don’t dwell on it and eventually it will hopefully be stored away in the attic of the mind.
- Don’t shut yourself down: After being frequently robbed of joy your natural instinct is to shut down and no longer share because all it leads to is hurtfulness, BUT DON’T!! Continue to share your joy; it is important to remember that there are individuals in this world who need to hear your inspiring story, to be motivated by your words, to perhaps even pursue a life free of joy robbing. It only takes one person to touch millions. You are unique, you are special, you have gifts to share with this world and you can’t do that if you shut down. No matter how many times someone may tear you down and rob you of your joy you must persevere, you are more resilient than you know, go after your sunshine!
Joy robbing is not a victimless crime. Let’s humble ourselves and help build up others scaffoldings so that they can have full sun exposure, and bask in their joys, don’t tear others down.
Have you ever been a victim of a joy robbing? How did it make you feel? How did you overcome it? Or perhaps you have joy robbed yourself, please share your story, we learn from each other’s experiences, mistakes, and victories.