I had an interesting conversation with a friend this weekend when she told me that her husband admitted that he’d never be so excited as to jump up and down over anything. She prodded and still got the same response. Now, granted, her husband tends to lean towards the unemotional end of the spectrum with a recurring habit of being a “buzz-kill” with his gloomy, morose personality. The glass is not only half-full in his eyes, but shattered with a puddle of a red-dye infused liquid, seeping into his porous counter top. He’s the polar opposite of my friend who’s overly-expressive with enthusiasm that’s infectious. She’s the type of person you want to talk to, and share a story with, just to hear her laugh. And she’s the type who shows emotion by jumping up and down.
In thinking about my friend’s husband, I wondered about how people express emotion differently. What type of scenario would warrant a spontaneous, uninhibited jump-up-and-down, ecstatic reaction that he claims he’d never do? Jumping up and down isn’t the kind of reaction that’s planned and calculated. It’s an uncontrollable exuberance, oftentimes a release of what’s been aggregating internally. Perhaps that display of emotion is one of the most authentic expressions of an emotional high. Most commonly these displays happen in sports arenas or in my friend’s living room when her college alma mater edges ahead of the rival team. I felt that same high on Saturday when my son’s football team scored in the last minute of the single-elimination playoff game advancing his team to the next round. I celebrated my son’s victory with a reaction that was purely spontaneous.
I thought about other situations in life whereby one would be overtaken by an emotional rush that elevates them off the ground and back down again. Elation over passing the bar or medical licensing exam, or years before that, getting into a certain college. What about seeing a long lost relative or overcoming a terminal diagnosis? And of course, the always cliché--winning the lottery. For my friend’s husband, I’m not even sure a lottery win would make him do a happy dance. The ways in which we release joy might also vary across age and differing personalities. Whether you're a bold extrovert or a guarded introvert like me, sometimes letting loose just feels good for the soul. Try it. Those around you just might join in.