I hadn’t planned on writing about this, but I figured I might as well get it off my chest.
You know how they say that you should be happy for someone else’s successes? I’ve read a number of different things about this, like how the successful ones are those who don’t begrudge others for their good fortune. And yes, I know that if that person is important to me, I should be happy for them. Problem is, sure, I’m happy, but more often than not, the scale tips over in favor of jealousy.
Oscar Wilde said:
“Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.”
If I go by his words, I’m thinking I don’t have ‘a very fine nature’. Does this make me a bad person? I know I should be happy and I want to be, but knowing and wanting are two very different things from ‘being’. How do I go about being truly, genuinely happy for someone else? Is this ability something that people are born with, or is it something you develop like positive thinking?
–On a side note, I’ve got to ask: For those very-fine-natured people, could you honestly say that you’re a hundred percent happy, with no twinges of jealousy whatsoever?–
I’ve been wondering about that for quite some time, and so I did what I always do when in doubt. I checked Google. What do you know, I got 1.65 billion results in 0.33 seconds! Google really is the shizz.
Of course I didn’t go through all the results, but the few that I did check out told me pretty much similar things. One of the underlying ideas was that I shouldn’t compare myself with others. That reminded me of the time I was researching the negative effects of social media for an SEO article I was writing. The Envy Effect ranked way up there, alongside low self-esteem. I loved Shauna Niequist’s article on RelevantMagazine.com. She said:
“Everyone’s life looks better on the internet than it does in real life…The Internet is partial truths. We check it [Facebook] when we’re bored and when we’re lonely, and it intensifies that boredom and loneliness.”
I recommend you check out her article. It’s one of those pieces that make you go, “oh, that is so true”. I know I did. But before I go completely off-tangent, let me get back to my original point. I’ll save my views on social media for next time.
So yeah, comparison leads to envy. Got it. It isn’t easy to avoid, but identifying that and remembering that might be a good step. Then again, at the root of it is that issue of being happy with who I am and what I’ve got.
Being happy, period.
Again, it isn’t easy to do. It’s like thinking positive. It takes practice. And maybe I should start first by being thankful. By finding one thing to be thankful about each day.
Today, I’m thankful for the dream I had last night. It was rather…interesting and gives me fodder for my writing.
I’ll also say thanks for the gift of a good Internet connection, because I darn well need it for everything I have to finish today.
On that note, it’s time for me to sign off. I’ll let you know how I get along with the self-improvement issue.
If, like me, you need help with *ahem* refining your nature, here are a few links I found helpful:
- How To Be Happy For Others In Your 20s (youngandcatholic.net)
- How to Be Happy For Other People (in 4 easy steps!) (twentyandtwo.com)
- 4 Reasons to Let Go of Jealousy and Celebrate Your Greatness (tinybuddha.com)