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Celebrate Other People’s Good News

by Beth on April 19th, 2013

How do you respond when something good happens to someone else? Do you celebrate with them? Or are you more likely to say “that’s great!” and continue on? Actively responding to their good news increases your own positivity as you savor the happy occasion. It also helps to strengthen your relationship with that person.

Sometimes we have trouble rejoicing over someone else’s good news. When a friend tells you about her promotion or his summer plans or the flat screen TV she just got is your first reaction perhaps a bit of jealousy or envy? Do you start thinking about your own insecurities? When are you ever going to get promoted? Why do you never seem to find the time to plan special vacations? Who has enough money to buy a screen that big?

These feelings can prevent you from experiencing shared joy. But the truth is that good news for others shouldn’t be bad news for you. Their success doesn’t impact your success. On the contrary, their success can provide an opportunity for you to experience greater happiness. So why not share their joy?

One way to make it easier to be happy for someone else’s success is to avoid social comparison. Judging yourself by comparing your situation to another person’s situation can lead to feelings of vulnerability and insecurity. Happy people judge themselves by their own internal standards. They can take pleasure in other people’s successes because they don’t let it influence how they feel about themselves.

Buddhists have a meditation practice called Mudita for cultivating appreciative joy, an attitude of rejoicing in the happiness of all beings. It helps to reduce jealousy and make you less self-centered.

So the next time someone tells you their good news, don’t immediately start comparing what they have with what you have or don’t have. Instead, focus your attention on them and their good fortune. Celebrate the news with them and enjoy the delight that it can bring to you both.

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