“I am happy for you”. The art of rejoicing in someone else’s success and happiness is easier said than done.
It´s easy to feel happy for someone when you find yourself in a good state of mind. It´s also a piece of cake to clap for someone’s success when they accomplished something within a field that is not the same as yours. But cheering for someone who achieved something you wish you had, that is the real challenge.
I grabbed a coffee with an old friend last time I was in Paris and we cheered for her recent success of getting into the best school in the country. I found myself being genuinely proud and happy for her. I recognised her hard work and dedication and felt it was more than deserved. Not an ounce of jealousy or frustration in sight. We shared a lovely moment rejoicing in her little happiness cloud and as we said goodbye I felt I took a little piece of that cloud with me. I had a smile on my face, thinking how lovely it is to see hard work being rewarded and feeling at that very moment that everything was how it should be.
But what if I had been depressed that day? What if I had tried and failed at the same exam? That would have been a very different story. I would probably have received her happiness as an aggression. Seeing it as reflexion of my own failure. I know this because it has happened before. But I also know it is not justified.
Others’ successes or failures are in no way related or proportional to yours.
You are responsible of your actions and life and they are of theirs. It makes absolutely no sense to feel better to see your friends fail where you also failed. On the contrary. To progress and grow you need to surround yourself with people who will challenge you, push you forward, not drag you down.
Again, easier said than done. We know all that, and it looks great on paper, but controlling your feelings is something that demands practice, dedication and awareness, knowing yourself and more importantly being very honest with yourself, admitting and recognising your feelings to then be able to act on them.
Definitely something worth working on though, for ourselves and our entourage, because happiness is contagious. Catch it. Spread it.
By: Mo Oléron