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:
A) ABUNDANCE (Yay)
B) SCARCITY (Oh no)
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.
Have you ever dealt with not being able to feel happy for others?
Related: On Overcoming Social Media Anxiety
Photo: Thang Le | Photography via Flickr; Z Zoccolante