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6 Ways to Be Happy When Others Succeed

6 Ways to Be Happy When Others Succeed | Peaceful Dumpling

Is your “I’m so happy for you!” masking your true feelings?

Everyone is familiar with the question of the cup being half empty or half full. It’s designed to test our mindset and how we view the world.

The world is a place of:


Half full or half empty? The answer to this question, determines our peace and joy.

Years ago, at a party, a new guest arrived at our circular table. As is customary we played the, ‘what do you do?’ game. She began to sincerely gush about how her book had become a best seller and all the press she was getting from it. I remember putting on a polite smile and pretending to be happy for her, but my heart felt like it was being punched with something dull and rusty.

Once upon a time, my subconscious believed that the world was a pie. If someone took a piece of pie, than there was less pie for me. Therefore, each time someone succeeded, I truly wanted to be happy for them, but instead, my heart filled with rusty dread and anxiety because I thought there was, now, one less piece of pie (success) for me.

Somewhere along the way, I had developed the view that the glass was half empty. This vantage point caused me a lot of unnecessary hurt and frustration.

The truth is that the world is not a pie. The world is a bakery with amazing pastry chefs that bake around the clock. We can have anything we want as long as we believe, and act in accordance with that belief. The world has an abundance of pies! And they are delicious.

Even if you do believe in a world of abundance, we all have times, or certain people that trigger us. Here’s what I’ve discovered on ways to be happy for others’ success.

1) Put yourself in their shoes.

What if person X was you? Wouldn’t you want to be loved and supported when you did something great in the world? Obviously yes. Then treat others the same way you would want them to treat you when you succeed.

2) Say something genuine.

Whether you communicate to person X or just think it to yourself, this is important because the energy that you put out is what returns to you. What is something that you sincerely and genuinely admire about them? Do they have an awesome work ethic, a great attitude, acting chops, a stellar voice, graceful dance, technique, a striking way with words, persistence? There is always at least one thing we can find.

3) Acknowledge what you don’t see.

We often have no idea the work, behind the scenes, that person X might have done to get the reward we are seeing from the outside. It’s like a seed. When the seed is planted it grows for weeks under the ground before spouting for the world to see, but it’s been growing that whole time. No one who is significant has gotten there without significant pains. It often takes years to become a success over night.

4) Remember your unique path.

I like to think of life as a dirt road through a forest. Each of us has a road that belongs solely to us. We may have parallel roads but we never have the same road. In our hands we have a key. It is our key that unlocks the doors along our path. Even if someone were to jump on our path they don’t have the key to unlock our doors, so it’s futile for them. We can breathe easy and know that it’s not a race because it’s our path. Therefore our timing is always right.

5) Give thanks.

Gratitude is vital to a happy, healthy heart. God has put many blessings in all of our lives. It’s up to us to remind ourselves of all the good things we have. There are so many little things we take for granted like hot water, food, clean water, safe homes, our beds, or our health. There is always something to be thankful for.

6) Picture and focus on your dream.

Comparison and jealousy cause us to focus externally on person X. It’s like digging pathways away from the main river, causing the water to divert in other directions. If we can take that energy and redirect it back into our lives, our river becomes powerful again. Get a picture in your mind of the success you want and focus on it in the same way you would when watching TV. Remember to keep your eyes on your own TV screen.

The world is abundant and full of delicious pies. And there’s a whole pie with your name on it.

6 Ways to Be Happy When Others Succeed | Peaceful Dumpling

Have you ever dealt with not being able to feel happy for others? 

Related: On Overcoming Social Media Anxiety

How to Overcome Career Envy

How to Stop Hesitating



Photo: Thang Le | Photography via Flickr; Z Zoccolante

Z Zoccolante

Z Zoccolante

Contributor at Peaceful Dumpling
Z Zoccolante is an author, actress, and fairytale dreamer. As a coach, she specializes in uncluttering and defragging the mind. Her debut memoir will one day help others, who are trying to recover from eating disorders, attain happiness and freedom. Originally from Hawai’i, she now lives in LA. Visit her blog at
Z Zoccolante


Author, Actress, Fairytale Dreamer. Lover of lattes, belly laughs, creating things, and pretending I live in a dark fairytale.
Getting Our Needs Met $matches[1] - 5 days ago
  • Bryan

    I love this article! First of all, it is beautifully written. Very poetic. Second, the tips are so true, and are great reminders. I particularly resonated with 3). It is easy to see a person on a surface level, and make a judgement based on limited vision. It is much more challenging, and much more valuable to remember that, in some way, they once were where you are now. Much can be learned from this. Actually, tips 4, 5, and 6 touched me as well. It is nice to have a reminder to focus in the beautiful things in life, and the mission that I have. And, I really, really want apple pie now, and I am very glad there is one with my name on it. I hope we can see more from Z!

    • Z Zoccolante

      Oh yes, magic number 3. 🙂 You’re note is a great reminder for me as well, to remember that “they were once where I am now.” It makes doing the work much more inspiring, instead of looking at how far I still have to go. Baby steps. Thank you. Mmm. Pie. With Love, Z 🙂

  • Vinnie

    WOW..How can someone argues with the simple principles that have been written. If only I could have learned this wisdom when I was young enough to apply it to my life at a young age. I took me 1/2 a life time to understand that every person is here in our lives for some reason whether it be a minute -a hour or a lifetime. FOCUS is what most people don’t do —Focus and Listen –good advice and yes the acorn grows up into the mighty oak..

    • Z Zoccolante

      It’s funny how the simple principles are often the most profound, and ironically take a lifetime to master. I like the realization that every person passes our life for a reason. That is one that helps me be more loving and kinds towards others in every moment. Thank you. With Love, Z 🙂

    • Z Zoccolante

      It’s funny how the simple principles are often the most profound, and ironically take a lifetime to master. I like the realization that every person passes our life for a reason. That is one that helps me be more loving and kinds towards others in every moment. Thank you. With Love, Z 🙂

  • Eli Amber

    I especially like the thought of putting myself in their shoes. I am humbled by the number of people that have supported me and encouraged me to take the next step. People that have been happy for my success and my advancement. I am reminded that I should be like those that have played a role in where I am today. Thank you to those cheering me on; may I pay it forward. Thanks for sharing your genius, Z!

    • Z Zoccolante

      Thank you. I really like the though of the “people that have been happy for your and your success! It’s so important to have loving, positive, people cheering us on. No man is an island and our accomplishments are not solely our own 🙂

  • kahea

    I love this article! Helped me let go of self-judgements and fear of failure. Clearly and simply stated. This made me happy and grateful to be me 🙂 essentially that’s what makes me most happy! YAY! Thanks for writing this article.

    • Z Zoccolante

      Yay. Without the fear of failure you can soar completely as you, with a huge smile. Thanks 🙂

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