Sympathetic Joy

Sympathetic joy is a curious attitude that is not a distinct concept in American culture. It’s the idea that you can derive joy from someone else’s joy. Sometimes seeing another person having a good time can make you feel jealous. But if you have a rapport with that person, knowing they are joyful can make you happy. This experience most commonly occurs within the family. Parents enjoy seeing their kids having fun. And you don’t have kids to enjoy seeing the smile on a child’s face. But when something good happens to one of your peers, envy can kick in. This is especially true if there is any rivalry between you. If your friend gets something that you wish you had, you may have mixed feelings about their success. Then there’s the expression “Misery loves company.” When you’re down, you feel a little bit better when other people are in the same boat. There’s even a term borrowed from German, Schadenfreude, that refers to the joy felt on seeing another person suffer. It’s understandable that when you’re suffering, you may feel a little bit better knowing you’re not alone. But even though it may seem counterintuitive, when you’re suffering, if you can focus on another person’s joy, you can share it, and that makes you feel better.

#stewartlifecoaching #smypatheticjoy #happinessforothers

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