You are scrolling through your social media feed, and you see everyone living it up and having the time of their lives.
While a part of you would like to feel happy for them, you can’t help but suddenly compare your life to theirs, and you end up feeling bad about yourself.
If it’s someone you are close to, you feel even worse for being envious and feel like a bad person. And then you start to wonder what you’re doing with your life and before you know it, your mind becomes flooded with a seemingly endless stream of unpleasant thoughts.
Well, I’ve been there, and I am guessing you’ve been there as well, If not on social media, then perhaps maybe when someone was telling you about something great that happened in their lives.
After all, our mind is programmed to compare ourselves with others, which usually ends with us feeling bad about ourselves.
But what if we could alter our mind’s programming to be genuinely happy for other people instead of being envious or feeling bad about ourselves? Here are 5 ways that can help you with that.
Give up the competitive mindset
We are hit with messages of competition both directly and subliminally right from the time we are young from our school, parents and our society which subconsciously influences our mind to view life as a sort of competition with others.
Social media in particular subconsciously engages this competitive streak within us and it becomes a competition and comparison about who is having more of a good time, and who has their life more sorted.
Giving up is a word that has a lot of negative connotation attached to it, but when it comes to competing with others with regards to who has a better life, it’s always better to give up or better yet not compete.
This competition can be for anything be it more likes, followers, money, bigger house, better car, better partner, who’s travelling more etc.
But the truth is, somebody is always going to have it better than us in some area of life. Due to which competing and comparing whether on social media or otherwise is more likely to impact our mental health adversely and throw up more negatives than positives.
The solution then is to shift our mindset to stop viewing life as a competition and give up competing with others. This shift in mindset can help us to limit comparing our whole life with the best aspects of other people’s lives, which in turn can help us to be happier for them.
Focus on what’s good in your life
A great way to be happy for others is to focus on the good things in your life and one of best ways for that is through gratitude journaling.
This is not the first time I’ve talked about gratitude journaling on my blog and I don’t think it will be the last time either because it is such a powerful tool. Keeping a gratitude journal simply involves jotting down 5 or more things you are grateful for daily and describing why you are grateful for it.
It is a powerful way to train our brain to focus on the good that is always present in our lives which may get obscured when we are stuck comparing our lives with others. (I’ve written about it in more detail over here)
When we are already in a state of appreciation for what we have in our lives, we feel good, and we also want the people around us to be happy.
Let go of timelines
Youtuber and podcast host Jay Shetty talks about the importance of letting go of having fixed timelines on his channel.
There are all sorts of timelines created by society for everything, whether it’s with regards to the age that we should finish our education, get a steady job, get married, have kids and have it all figured out. But life doesn’t always go according to these plans does it?
Placing a lot of emphasis on wanting our life to fall in line with these timelines can create a lot of stress for ourselves, and even make us feel jealous when we see others hitting these milestones and we aren't.
This can be the case even if you are a successful Hollywood actress, as Emma Watson who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movie series, revealed in her interview with British Vogue on turning 30,
“I was like, ‘Why does everyone make such a big fuss about turning 30? This is not a big deal…’” “Cut to 29, and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I feel so stressed and anxious. And I realise it’s because there is suddenly this bloody influx of subliminal messaging around. “If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby, and you are turning 30, and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career, or you’re still figuring things out… There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety.”
Releasing ourselves from these timelines can help us be happy with our lives as well as be happy for others whose lives are seemingly going according to these timelines.
RELATED : 5 Powerful Tips For A Positive Attitude
Trust good things are in store for you
Another way to be happier for others is to use their success or cause for happiness as a source of inspiration and interpret them as one more reason why you can have it or achieve it too. And most of all have faith that good things are in store for you as well.
Now that may sound like useless positive mumbo-jumbo, but what good can possibly come out of thinking “oh my God, my life is never going to be like that” or thinking “my life sucks”?
The late iconic inventor Steve Jobs mentioned the power of having trust in his Stanford commencement address,
“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
A willingness or desire is of course, the most obvious step that’s needed to be happy for others since nothing can happen without that. Being genuinely happy for others may not magically happen overnight, and it may not even feel natural at first. But like with most things, the more effort you put in, the easier it gets to be genuinely happy for others.
To be willing, it helps to ask yourself - wouldn’t I want other people to be happy in my victories and successes, or would I want them to be jealous?
At the end of the day, being happy for others will not only turn us into a better person, but it will also hugely benefit our mental health especially since we live in the social media age where people like to flaunt their victories and successes.
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