Revel In Your Joy

Brianne Hogan, Guest Blogger September 29, 2015

I was catching up with an old friend from university the other day, swapping stories, sharing memories and laughing until our bellies ached. At one point during our 90-minute conversation, I relayed two new developments in my career.

“Brie,” she said, after I told her my news. “Those things are awesome! Congratulations!”

“Thanks. Yeah, I guess,” I said.

“So why did you sound like you were talking to me about doing your taxes?”

Here’s the thing: I don’t get excited. I am an even Steven when it comes to, well, pretty much everything. I can count on two hands– okay, two fingers– when I literally jumped for joy: when I was accepted into my dream college, NYU, and when I went to Disney World for the first time. That’s it. Every other “cool” thing that’s ever happened to me– living in Italy, having my play produced in a popular festival, meeting Paul Newman– is usually expressed with a small smile and a shrug. Sometimes I don’t even express anything.

It’s not that I’m “playing it cool” or fishing for more compliments. I’m just being…me. Grounded. Level-headed. Practical.

But my friend’s recent comment caused me to wonder if my “practicality” was getting in the way of reveling my joy. 

image by Diana via

About ten years ago, an acting teacher told me something that I’ll never forget. “You don’t revel in your joy,” he said. He made the remark after an intense session in which I had overcome a number of hurdles in my performance, and, basically, kicked some butt. After my scene was over, I received a number of lovely compliments from my classmates. However, instead of allowing those beautiful messages to soak into my atoms and aura, instead of giving myself permission to be proud and happy and excited, I was…me. Small smile, shrug. No expression.

Here’s another thing about me: I am an over-achiever and a classic Type-A personality. As soon as I cross one thing off my list, I am always thinking of what’s next to tackle, what I haven’t completed yet, what I don’t have, what I want to have.

I didn’t let myself acknowledge my success with my friend, or in that acting class, because I always think I can do better. “It was good, but not good enough.” It’s pretty much like I’m running a race without a finish line, so I finally realized that I’ll never really feel whole and complete until...I learn how to revel in my joy.

Truthfully, I don’t know how to exactly do that. I even googled “how to revel in your joy” for suggestions. But I’m pretty sure it has everything to do with being grateful– grateful for your achievements, grateful for the support you receive, grateful for being you– and also with acceptance; acceptance of who you are in this present moment and acceptance of what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve really come, letting go of attachments, outcomes and ego.

It’s more than okay to be and feel happy when you achieve a goal, no matter how big or small.

And I think it has everything to do with being proud of yourself. Letting that warm, fuzzy, loving energy envelope you, causing you to grin ear-to-ear and maybe even to break out in an impromptu kitchen dance session. Practical, schm-atical.

You can definitely be a grounded person who lets her spirits fly once in a while. It’s more than okay to be and feel happy when you achieve a goal, no matter how big or small. In fact, it’s vital for your wholeness, your being-ness. I’m finally learning that.

So, go ahead. Revel in your joy. I’ll be dancing in my kitchen, too.

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About Brianne

BRIANNE_HOGAN_writer_bio.jpgBrianne is a freelance writer in Toronto. She loves animals, Hall & Oates and every kind of potato. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan.


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