Word Study

A Study of the Word Delight

When is the last time you experienced delight?  What images do you conjure up when you think of delight?  I immediately see a child who is amazed at a new discovery.  I still feel delighted whenever I discover something new and interesting or when something pleasantly surprises me.  Certain professionals seem to experience delight more often than others, like poets and scientists.  It is a way of looking at the world that you can cultivate more of in your life.

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Delight is defined as giving great pleasure, satisfaction, or joy.  One way to cultivate more of it in your life is to make a list.  List those people, experiences, and things that have given you delight (pleasure and joy) in the past.  Keep a daily list of things that delight you each day.  You can create more opportunities for delight once you know what to look for.  For example, if you find delight in puppies, but you do not want to get a puppy, you could watch videos of them.  Or if new discoveries bring you joy, then sign up for a class or go hiking on a new trail.

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Begin to notice how people use the word in our culture.  One common phrase is

“I am delighted to meet you.”

When on the receiving end, this comment makes me feel like I am wanted and that this could be the beginning of a great relationship.  When I say it, it is because I am excited by this discovery of a new human in which to engage.  I believe they will bring something positive to my life.  Often someone says this greeting when they have heard something about the person beforehand that they like.  Someone they care about spoke glowingly of the person they are meeting or they are somewhat well-known for their ideals or talents.  Sometimes it is simply their energy, attractiveness, or charism that makes someone already delighted to be in their presence.

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Could we seek to find something delightful about each of the people that we meet?  Perhaps if we began our engagements with each new person in this way, then we could cultivate more joyful relationships.  And how do we become more delightful ourselves?  When we are joyful or experiencing delight, it is contagious.  Haven’t you ever caught yourself laughing at something that wasn’t funny simply because someone else with a contagious laugh won’t stop laughing at it?  So by cultivating delight in your life, you are not just gaining your own pleasure, but you are bringing it to others.  Your delight is contagious.  I, for one, would like to use that to combat the fear in the world.

Here are some examples on how to find more delight in your life from The Science of Happiness Podcast. Listen or read the transcript here

Check out NPR This American Life‘s episode on Delight

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