Ep. 27: Joie de Vivre
Joie de Vivre
Last week I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Ruth Westheimer speak at the National Museum of American Jewish History here in Philadelphia. You may remember her as the sex therapist from the 80’s and 90’s who took the nation by storm with her frank and honest talk about sex.
Her story of triumph and resilience, regardless of her many trials, she has attributed to Joie de Vivre.
In her new book, The Doctor Is In: Dr. Ruth on Love, Life, and Joie de Vivre, she discusses how she faced plenty of adversity in her 87 years but if she had focused on the terrible things she endured, she would have missed out on the zest of life.
She spoke about being a Holocaust survivor and losing her entire family during that time, but she went on to talk about all the wonderful opportunities that life has afforded her.
She explained to the audience, “If you focus on all the bad things that have happened to you, then you are missing out on all the wonderful things that life has to offer. You can have twenty awful things happening but there is always something good or positive also happening. You need to focus on that one positive thing and be grateful and excited for more to come; that’s how you have Joie de Vivre!”
She went on to talk about how we need to not only focus on those positive things, but to keep talking about them. By talking about them, we keep them alive and keep those thoughts powerful.
Her life has been an excellent example of the Law of Attraction in action. She has allowed opportunities to flow to her and she took them without trying to control their outcomes. She did make the distinction that when the opportunity does present itself, you’ve got to grab it, take it, and run with it.
She told the story of how she became a sex therapist. Originally she became a kindergarten teacher because her grandmother wanted her to do this, but after a few years she took a job at Planned Parenthood for extra money. She noticed how everyone was always talking about sex and it seemed to be such an important topic to people, however, she thought they needed some educating on the subject. This led her to teach at a college in NYC and become involved in public health education. She also stumbled on the first radio show she had on Sunday evenings at 12:15 AM. No one wanted to go speak to the radio station about public health issues, so Dr. Ruth was sent and a week later she had her own radio show.
As I sat there listening to her speak with such exuberance and excitement, I realized that she has made her life what it is by her attitude and thoughts alone. Her life is a perfect example of allowing and being grateful and excited, regardless of your circumstances.
Toward the end of her talk she encouraged the single people in the audience to say yes when someone asks you to go get a cup of coffee, because you never know where that relationship or discussion may take you.
There’s much to be learned from Dr. Ruth about sex and relationships, but her gift of excitement and zest for life is contagious and certainly worth spreading around.
Dr. Ruth has taught us how to be a living example of Joie de Vivre, and we could all use a little more of that in our lives.