Should someone else’s happiness affect your happiness?
The obvious answer is no. Someone else’s successes or failures has nothing to do with you or your life.
I wholeheartedly agree with this idea yet, sometimes I struggle.
I find myself scrolling Facebook and when someone I don’t particularly care for or feel inferior to has a positive thing happen, it feels like a personal dig at me. Like, who does this person think they are that they can have great things happen, and I’m over here watching my third hour of “Dance Moms” eating non-organic peanut butter, because I’m too lazy to make a proper sandwich. A-holes, that’s who.
So, for me, the first step is admitting there is a problem.
Admitting that you can’t be happy for someone else’s success is hard because it means that you feel like you’re in competition with them and you’re losing. That something is going on in your own life making you feel less than or vulnerable, and here’s the god-honest truth: That’s okay. Life is filled with ups and downs, they just aren’t usually shared on social media.
Ups only on the ol’ social media. People aren’t going to show pictures of their kids watching their third hour of “Paw Patrol,” while pounding some Wendy’s. Instead, it’s them in their Easter best posing with a real, live fluffy bunny. Which is fine, I don’t need to see pictures or videos of kids fighting over who had the matchbox car last. I just need to remind myself that people are showing their lives through rose-colored lenses.
When I’m feeling a bit lost or sad or “not where I should be,” it’s a hard place to admit to being. It’s easier to attack the other person: They’re bragging, or being “fake,” or inauthentic. That way one doesn’t have to examine what’s at the core of a reaction.
So the only thing that I have found to be helpful when I’m feeling this way is to talk about it/write about it/examine it. Get to the core. As my boyfriend/hero Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers to those who weren’t pretend dating him) said, “If it is mentionable, it is manageable.” If you can talk about it, you can get through it and people want to talk about it.
Nothing makes a group connect harder and faster then a Facebook Bragger.
I also know that this feeling is a kick in the butt to start working on myself. Focus on the only thing I actually have control over: myself and my happiness. So when I’m feeling a pang of jealousy, it’s a cue to get moving. Not because you are actually in competition with some Facebook bragger (that Facebook bragger is probably not as happy as they want everyone to believe), but because it triggered something in me that’s saying I’m not feeling right about my life. When I’m happy and things are going great, someone else’s happiness or success is a blip on my radar, but when I’m not: an Instagram post will make me rage eat a peanut butter sandwich.
So when you’re feeling jealous, remind yourself what’s important in life, and don’t compare your life to anyone else’s—because you never know what they’re actually going through.
Author: Deirdre Londergan
Editor: Travis May