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Episode 24: Freudenfreude

Description: "More freudenfreude, less schadenfreude." --Brené Brown


1. Explore Brené Brown's newest book, Atlas of the Heart, here.

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Transcription: Hi, and welcome to episode 24 of season two of Self-Care for Educators. I'm your host, Tina Boogren. This week, I want to introduce you to a new word, or at least it was a new word for me. I learned about this word from Brené Brown's latest book, Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection in the Language of Human Experience. I know many of you are also exploring this book and loving it as much as I do. In this book, I learned two new words. Actually, the first one is schadenfreude. Schadenfreude. Some of you may know this word. It was new to me. Basically what schadenfreude is ... It's a German word that means basically pleasure or joy derived from someone else's suffering our misfortune. Yuck. So, the opposite of that is this lovely word, freudenfreude. Freudenfreude. It's spelled F R E U D E N F R E U D E. Freudenfreude. I just love it. So freudenfreude is the enjoyment of another's success, the enjoyment of another's success. It's also a subset of empathy. This word just boom, has hit me, and just latched onto me, and I love it. And, I've found great pleasure in finding examples of this as I move through the world. And, it's amazing. And, that's my invitation for you this week. I want you to sink into this feeling of freudenfreude, to recognize it when you're feeling it, and to say it out loud.

So. Man, as educators, we get to experience this if we're open to it, probably every single day, right? And, we're so deeply in tune with this emotion. When our students find success, we are tapping in to the highest levels of Maslow's hierarchy. This is when we feel self-actualized. And, that sense of transcendence like freudenfreude is really tapping into our greatest purpose. And, it's available to us outside of the classroom, as well.

So, some of you know, that I just wrapped up a few weeks ago, by the time this podcast comes out, or a week ago, the High-Reliability Schools Summit, which is Marzano Resources' biggest event of the year. It's the first time we've been back in person, oh my gosh, for a couple of years. And, it felt so good. We were in San Antonio, and it was amazing. And, I experienced freudenfreude in so many different ways, but here's where it hit me. So, my friend and colleague Mario Acosta had his very first major keynote, and I got to sit in the audience and hold space for him and watch him crush it. I mean, it was phenomenal. And, that experience of freudenfreude became a visceral feeling for me, my entire body felt it. In fact, the minute that he got done and that roar of applause from the crowd exploded, I actually physically started crying, and my entire body ... I got goosebumps, goosebumps, and I thought, This is it. This is freudenfreude at like it's peak. Like he just crushed it. And, I was on such a natural high from his success that it just buoyed me for the rest of the day. And, I started talking about this word and sharing it with others, and we started to find these other examples of it.

In fact, the entire week was filled with freudenfreude for my fellow colleagues and for listening to our participants share these incredible things they're doing in our classroom. In fact, the entire summit is really built upon freudenfreude, right? It's the work that we do to help support schools. And, when we see them find success, oh, that feeling is like no other.

So, this week, I simply want you to play around with that. Try it on for size. Practice saying it. Because, it's a fun word to say what a great thing to bring into our classrooms, as well--and to share with students! Oh, what a fun thing to get them to learn how to spell it, to say it, and to find examples of it, I think is just a really powerful way to help guide us through this last, last couple of days of February, and as we move into March. So, I just want you to be on the lookout for freudenfreude, and the real challenge or invitation is to share with that person when you're feeling this feeling like to just look at them, hug them, tell you, tell them how proud you are of them, and to share this word with them and just see how it buoys you. This is, this is altruism, right? And, we know altruism--when we do something kind for someone else, it makes their day, but it actually is one of the fastest ways for us to feel better ourselves.

And so, this is kind of a subset of that I want you to just be looking for opportunities where when you see someone else shine, that you kind of resist the sometimes very human instinct--I get it to too--not, not the schadenfreude, but to be maybe, maybe envious? Jealous might be the word. And, to instead just say, There's room for all of us here, and there's room for everyone to shine. And, especially when students, when we sink into that and really celebrate that growth, that's going to impact their sense of efficacy. It impacts their sense of esteem. Like, there's just all goodness, when we're able to do this. So, let's work on what, what Brené Brown says in the book, which I love. "More freudenfreude, less schadenfreude." That's your invitation for this week.

As always, a huge, huge thank you to Brooke for making this happen. Thank you to Solution Tree and Marzano Resources for this job I get to do. And, for you, my bad-ass Self-Care Squad. Oh boy. When I see you guys engaging in this hard work and finding those, those big and small moments of success, my freudenfreude emotion is so stinking strong. I'm so grateful for you. Have an amazing week.

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1 Comment

Inga Spath
Inga Spath
Nov 29, 2022

German here.... Great piece, 100% agree with the message. However, and this is not the author's fault, while we have the word "Schadenfreude" in the German language, there is no such word as "Freudenfreude" . The correct term js "Mitfreude" ("Withjoy" or "Alongsidejoy"). The NYT recently published an article populating that word as well, so in the spirit of education and to help counter false information out there on the internet, just a little education from my end. Still, much Lovelove for this episode (see what I did there? 😉)

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