Being Happy For Other People’s Successes...Or At Least Being Ok With It
Comparison is the thief of joy.
I’ve attended quite a few weddings and have almost always observed a common theme of at least one female (guest or even worse, part of the wedding party) that’s clearly less than happy for the bride. The “friend” is almost always single and less than thrilled about her friend’s nuptials as if somehow her friend’s marital status has something to do with her relationship status. It’s a strange phenomenon to watch and although society would like to say that this cliched behavior is an entirely female trait, I would disagree. I’ve heard of men exhibiting similar behaviors although their jealousy manifests itself in different ways and unfortunately for both sexes, isn’t just limited to weddings.
Careers, clothes, fitness, beauty, children, homes, cars, personality, vacations...the list of ways to compare ourselves to others is endless and the subsequent unhappiness is almost always guaranteed. I was triggered to write this particular post because of a recent women’s event that I attended. Despite all of the mantras of women supporting each other and lady power, there was still plenty of judging and cattiness to make me wonder how exactly the attendees reconciled the message of empowerment with their behavior towards other attendees—there was clearly a disconnect.
I’ve seen this behavior with strangers/associates (but who cares what they think, right?) and sadly, more often between friends, the people that are supposed to be in your trusted circle of supporters. I think that what we tend to forget sometimes is that if someone in our circle is doing well, if nothing else, it uplifts everyone’s pedigree by association and everyone benefits.
If the success of someone triggers negative emotions, it’s probably a good idea to take stock of why. Is it insecurity? Frustration with not knowing how to achieve a goal? Regret about certain past decisions? I’m not suggesting being happy for someone if it's disingenuous; there’s no point in pretending and people will see through the forced smile and gritted teeth. We aren’t robots so if something evokes a negative response, I think we owe it to ourselves to figure out why. Perhaps put ourselves in a self-imposed time out and do a bit of introspection so that we don’t impose those negative feelings on others.
I think that we (men and women) can do better at uplifting and encouraging each other, and not in a phony or superficial way that just sounds good for a social media soundbite. When we see a baby or puppy, we don't have to tell ourselves to feel happy and there’s a reason for that— it’s an organic feeling. Wouldn't it be great to have that same positive organic response towards the people around us when they’re experiencing a moment of success or happiness? To be self aware enough so that someone’s successes or accomplishments triggers authentic joy or at least apathy but not negativity.
If you are surrounded by friends or acquaintances doing well, feel lucky to be in that circle. And, if someone has achieved a goal that you aspire to, seek people out to help you think through your path and what makes sense for you. This is a much healthier use of your powerful inner energy and karma, and good things will inevitably come your way.