My family has a bit of a competitive edge, particularly in board games, so celebrating when someone else wins doesn’t come naturally. I hear myself saying ‘It’s not the winning that matters, it’s the taking part’ but secretly I want to win. You could say this is harmless fun and I agree with you to a certain extent as long as this mind-set doesn’t follow us through life and prevent us from celebrating other people’s success. This can also apply to happiness; it is so easy to feel envious of another person’s happiness when actually this can rob us from contentment with our own life.
‘Happiness is not finite, and someone else’s good fortune doesn’t take away your own potential for happiness.’ Jaime Thurston [Kindness the little thing that matters most]
When we learn to ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice’ as the Apostle Paul put it we also find greater contentment and gratitude for our own life, or perhaps the reverse is also true, as we choose gratitude it makes it easier to celebrate with others. Paul goes on to say ‘mourn with those who mourn’, he is encouraging us to have empathy and share each other’s journeys both in the good and the bad. Both attitudes are about getting your eyes off yourself and reaching out to those around you, showing compassion. Both are acts of kindness and both require us to look beyond our own circumstances good or bad. When we choose to share in each other’s experiences we build community and the happiness and wellbeing of all of us improve.
So today consider who you can be happy for and if you feel just the smallest twinge of envy then stop and consider the many things you have to be thankful for and challenge yourself to be happy for someone else.