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Acknowledging the Pain and Celebrating the Small Moments of Joy

By Cultures Of Dignity | May 20, 2021

Celebrating small moments

As always we asked our teen editorial advisors to review this Communiquette. This time we included some of their direct quotes.

Acknowledging the Pain and Celebrating the Small Moments of Joy


Is it possible to feel so many feelings simultaneously? Happiness, languish, connection, anger, fear, and anxiety. While many of us in the United States are feeling the joy of increased freedom, people are still hurting. A few weeks ago we asked young people to share their feelings and state of mental health. What they shared was painful to read but so important. Not only for us to have a better understanding of their perspective but also to give young people an outlet to share their experiences and know they will be listened to. 

Here are their words.

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At the same time, even while young people are struggling they are still managing to reclaim moments of joy. In-person rites of passage are returning. Proms and graduations with family by your side are happening–at least in some parts of the world.

We want to share with you some of what that looks like so we asked our Youth Editorial Advisors to share pictures of celebrating new found normalcy in their lives. The small moments that we used to take for granted, that now seem so much more special.  

Children on the sea dock

 This is my sisters and I hanging out in Annapolis.  – Lela

Sword on the map

This is a version of Thror’s map from The Hobbit that I made, with a sword pictured as well. I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, so making this was a fun and positive way to destress after my exams. – Liza

The boy enjoys the twilight

To me this photo represents my most recent moment of happiness. The combination of a cool dusk breeze, serene sunset, and laughter shared with companions eases away the stress and apprehension of my life. – Knox

Enjoying friendship - two girls

I went to prom two weeks ago! – Helen

Enjoying friendship - girls on the sun

This is me and my best friend at brunch for Easter. This felt really special to me because last Easter I was not able to celebrate how we usually do so for us to be able to go to brunch with our friends and celebrate was really exciting! – Lydia

Enjoying friendship

This is me and my friends after not seeing each other for MONTHS. We quarantined beforehand. I’m the one in white. – Pacifica

Kids in the school

We just finished the final exam and it felt GREAT finally being free from those stressful moments. Not only were we done with huge tests, but we got to spend some amazing moments with friends which is something we haven’t done in a while.  – Abigail

Boy enjoying with his dog

This is me with my dog Jerry. We recently got him and he has been a fun and positive change in my family over the past few weeks. – Gus

It’s a lot. If you’re feeling happy–you get to have that feeling. You get to have all your feelings. Good or bad, feelings are always true in the moment but they can always change. Feel the good moments and let those feelings give you more strength to sit with moments of sadness, anxiety, frustration, and fear.

As we support young people here’s what they tell us they need: 

  • Ask them if they want support by just listening to them or want to discuss solutions. 
  • Tell them that even though you were their age once, you don’t know what it’s like to be growing up today. 
  • Remind them that negative emotions are real and they can change. 
  • Take a pause when they’re feeling a moment of joy. 

This originally appeared in our newsletter Communiquette. 

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