How to be happy for others and why it matters

I was at a family wedding last weekend when my husband’s cousin and I started talking about the power of happiness....

I was at a family wedding last weekend when my husband’s cousin and I started talking about the power of happiness. My husband’s cousin is a wonderful woman; beautiful, well-read, she has been places and seen things. Life hasn’t always been easy for her, yet when she’s around, even the darkest room brightens. She was talking about how happy she is with her baby boy, how her husband is a keeper, and how they’ve now found a house they love, have made an offer, and are praying for it to be accepted. All good things, for sure. But then the mood changed, as she recalled telling a good friend about her treasured house just a day earlier, and getting a nasty, jealous comment back.

The friend she was talking about is not very different from her. She’s not a refugee from Syria, she’s not on welfare, and she isn’t sick or even remotely in a bad physical or mental place. On the contrary, she has a good and steady job, lives a great life, and only differs slightly from my husband’s cousin: she just has a tiny bit less than her, is just a tiny bit heavier than her, and to her own standards, she’s just a tiny bit less attractive. But all of these little tiny bits together make that friend unhappy and envious.

I could see that my husband’s cousin had given this issue a lot of thought. And in the interesting and heart-centered conversation we had, she said something that really stuck with me.

If only my friend was happy for me, that would make her happy, too.

And I think that is so true.

We live in a competitive world. We live in a media-driven world. We live in a world that wants us to believe we are not enough the way we are, and that we are flawed and need extensive fixing. There isn’t a week that goes by without us being bombarded by countless messages telling us what a wonderful and perfect life lies a tiny little bit ahead of us, if only we can have, do, or take up the latest fashion fad. I believe that envy and jealousy are byproducts of those deceiving lies. And although they are not the goal of what the media and corporations want us to believe about ourselves, they are a welcome byproduct of that messaging. Envy and jealousy make us unhappy, and unhappiness is the breeding ground for our need for stuff, and always more stuff. Because we are meant to believe that we can cure unhappiness with things. And when we see others obtaining items that we think we need in order to be happy, our envy and jealousy are there to remind us of that lie.

But with awareness and practice, you can learn to see through this veil of misleading beliefs and become genuinely happy for others. And once you do that, a new level of happiness emerges for you, too. And guess what? It all starts with loving yourself first.

How to be happy for others and why it matters

Looking back at my own life, I know I’ve had many moments where I was envious or jealous, comparing and wishing I could have the life, body, or boyfriend of someone else. For a big part of my life, I tried to achieve the unattainable and I was miserable. Those moments were amongst the worst of my life. When I think back on how I felt, what I remember is bad. In most cases, I was depressed, stressed, anxious, frustrated, or scared. And I definitely didn’t love myself. And it’s only when I changed from within – when I started to love myself, my body, my mind, my soul, and my life – that I was able to be happy for the fortune and blessings of others. And thanks to that shift, I became happier myself.

Because when I started doing that, showing more love and compassion for the person who I was, I noticed I wasn’t that envious or jealous of others anymore. And once I was happy for them, more amazing things started happening for me. And that’s no surprise.

It is my conviction that what we send out into the world, and the thoughts that we have over and over again, materialize into this world. No exceptions.

On a level of energy, thought can be positive or negative, and depending on what we send out via our thinking, that is what we attract back into our lives. Fundamentally, that’s all there is: either you send out and receive positive and uplifting energy, or you send out and gain negative and depressing energy.

When you are jealous, you are tapping into and sending out negative energy. And by definition, that is what you get back. But that’s not all. When you’re jealous or envious, you’re creating the negative energy within yourself – in your mind through negative thinking, and in your body by producing emotions to fit your thoughts. And by doing that, you push self-love away. When you think of it that way, what it means is that, when you’re having negative thoughts or feelings towards someone else, you’re really having them towards yourself. When you’re jealous of a friend, they might be out having a great time, while you’re sobbing, or frustrated, or sad even, that you are not them. Wouldn’t it be much more fun to be out with them, so you could have a good time too?

But thankfully, the opposite is true, as well. And that is what my husband’s cousin meant when she said her friend could be happy too. Because if you are genuinely happy for the success, achievements, blessings, and lives of others, you are creating that positive energy within yourself, too, bringing more self-love into your life. And to live a happy and fulfilling life, that is what you must aim to do, always.

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