Humans are animals that congregate in tribes, some think of them as packs, others as herds. Anyone who’s been in a large crowd has felt how the individuals seem to meld into one organism, sharing fear, anger, or excitement. We are connected.
The reason we give gifts at holidays is not because we like getting more stuff, but because we crave the joy that comes when we’ve found something perfect for someone we love or admire. Tolkien’s Hobbits understood that when they gave presents away on their birthdays.
When you can touch another person’s emotions, you connect- energy flows between you. Some people will fall back on making someone angryd: if they can’t make them happy, just to make a connection.
I love this word: Macarism: “finding pleasure in being the source of another’s joy.” I would love for it to become as well known as Schadenfreude “finding pleasure in the misfortune of others”. But both recognize that we feel a need to connect with others. And when their joy gives you joy, and your joy gives them joy, it creates an every increasing pleasure that may spill out onto others as well.
When we share our sorrow, we also give the other the gift of trust, that we know that they will help if they can, and sympathize if they can’t. When we hear about others problems, we know that we haven’t been singled out for punishment, it’s just what happens sometime, and that our friends understand why we can’t feel happy at that moment. The situation may still be awful, but at least we know someone understands.
Connection, whether to other people, or to spirits, brings joy.