Being Happy for Others Makes You Happy « Pun Intended
Written by Bamboo Forest

Photo by araswami

If I could have my tombstone say just one thing, it would read: “he was happy for the happiness of others.” If it said this, I would count my life as one lived in fullness and completeness, a life that was worth living.

One of my essential philosophies is the constant engagement of feeling sincere joy for the fortune of others. And indeed — it does take work — this does not come naturally at all. It requires concerted effort.

Being happy for the happiness of others is most effortless when good things are unfolding in our own lives. But when our lives are uneasy and challenge filled, being happy for the happiness of others becomes a challenging undertaking.

When we hear good news about another, sometimes our first instinct is to feel a little resentful. This is only natural, but natural is not always good.

The moment we hear positive news about another, potential feelings of resentment should be immediately confronted and transformed into feelings of sincere joy! Doing so is particularly challenging when the very thing the other was blessed with is what we ourselves yearn for.

If you can put this into practice, you have conquered the armies of many.

One may interject:

“Yeah, but what do I get out of it? My circumstances haven’t changed by feeling happy for my fellow human being.”

To this I would agree, your circumstances have not changed — but you have.

Consistently finding joy in the good fortune of others is a quality we should all aspire to. One that by no means comes naturally; it is the outcome of an investment of time, effort, and awareness.

How wonderful would it be, if every time we heard positive news about another we felt a surge of joy. This remaining the case — inconsequential — of whether or not they were blessed with the specific things we ourselves have hoped, and dreamed for.

Magnificent this would be.

24 Responses to “Being Happy for Others Makes You Happy”
  1. Michele says:

    This is amazing, Bamboo! I was just thinking similar thoughts today. Weird… Anyway, something recently happened in a friend’s life. I thought, Wow, imagine how that would feel if it happened to me… But guess what. I’m not jealous. I decided this is her milestone. I’ll have a different one at the right time for me. Guess what else… that milestone happened to me today! I’m thrilled. I think by staying positive and being genuinely happy in my heart for her, I was “rewarded.” I like to think so anyway. πŸ™‚

    Great post!


  2. Kevin says:

    A very honest post Bamboo about how in today’s competitive world we kind of lose sight of humanity and the happiness we should all share. I think being happy for another only happens in true friendship as I am seriously very happy when my best friend wins an award or gets a girlfriend and I actually hope he goes to a great college unlike others who I pretend to but in reality I am a little jealous of.

  3. @ Michele: Congratulations on the milestone Michele! That’s great! May you have continued success.

    @ Kevin: Thanks for stopping by! Jealousy is very natural. I get jealous too. I doubt anyone can make themselves immune to jealousy knocking on their door. I think the goal is to confront it. Even if we don’t win the battle, we must still fight it. Being happy for others is one of the most noble qualities one can aspire to. The more we try, the more we succeed.

  4. Hani and I agree with your thoughts.

  5. Hi Bamboo,

    How true. If we can’t be happy for others, how can we expect them to be happy for us? It’s a two way street. I love to see others succeed and if I can help them along the way, I will. It creates good karma, and like you, I would love for my tombstone to read the same (except it would say “she”). I would have died in peace. πŸ™‚

  6. patti says:

    Absolutely awesome take on how we can take a natural reaction ( I.e. jealousy-resentment- or even a feeling of why them and Not me?- and be totally altruisitic-and just be happy for a good thing that happened to a fellow human being!! LOVE this post!!

  7. Marelisa says:

    Bamboo: I think it comes down to whether you have an abundance or a scarcity mentality. If you feel that there’s a limited supply then when someone else does well you’ll have a tendency to think: “great, now there’s less for me”. If you have an abundance mentality you know that the fact that someone else is doing well doesn’t diminish the pie. I agree that it’s important to think about these things.

  8. Vered says:

    I’m working on that. I HATE that I get jealous. I HATE that I compare myself to others.

    I am getting better at being truly happy for others, but I still have a lot of work to do.

    This is a beautiful post.

  9. @ Barbara Swafford: That’s wonderful you enjoy seeing people succeed.

    @ Patti: Thank you for your input and comments.

    @ Marelisa: That’s an interesting take.

    @ Vered: You’re working on it, as we all should. That’s a great thing.

  10. Jesse Hines says:

    Hey, this is a nice inspirational reminder.

    Pretty cool title, too.

  11. You’ve touched upon the most basic parable of happiness. If I make someone happy, universe will shower happiness on me. I love this simple yet profound wisdom. Thanks for reminding me. πŸ™‚


  12. Hi Bamboo, really like your statement there, “your circumstances may have not changed, but you have changed!”
    Really show the importance of our perspective on things!

  13. Sean says:

    I thought that this was something everyone naturally did? Why would I tell others things about me good fortune unless I expected them to find joy in it? I also feel good for others when they tell me of good things that are happening to them.

  14. @ Jesse: Thanks. Sometimes good titles require a little help πŸ˜‰

    @ Shilpan: I’m glad you found it of value.

    @ Robert: We musn’t loose sight of the growth that happens within. It’s not all about the material. Some of our greatest accomplishments in life are won inside.

    @ Sean: That’s wonderful you feel good for others when positive things happen to them.

  15. Tibi Puiu says:

    Very thoughtful post, Bamboo. If only more people would think like you. I’ll have to agree that there’s something special about the joy for someone else’s success, it’s that kind of satisfaction that I can’t just put into words, that altruism can bring. Envy and recentness are truly a plague on the world, if all of us would be a bit more supportive, we’d live in a much better society. Again, great post, man!

  16. @ Tibi Puiu: Thanks for the kind words. I agree, this is one quality that can help improve society.

  17. Focusing on other people instead of ourselves would change the world. But I don’t think human nature is going to change any time soon …

  18. @ Michael: Thanks for stopping by! Change begins within ourselves. Anything we can do to improve our way of being is the first step in making this world a better place.

  19. […] brother writes a little more seriously. To quote him from his “Being Happy For Others Makes You Happy”, he says: Consistently finding joy in the good fortune of others is a quality we should all aspire […]

  20. […] Be happy. Or at the very least, be neutral. It cannot be overstated how much of an affect our demeanor has on those we interact with. This remaining the case, no matter who the leader is in our land, now or a hundred years from now. […]

  21. lualhati says:

    being happy for others takes a lot of sincere feelings…most of the time people share only deep skin appreciation for the sake of telling others that they are happy for them.

  22. Happy For Others says:

    What a great post on being happy for others. This is probably the info on how to be happy that most people need the most, since so many have become so self-focused. “Those who bring sunshine to others cannot keep it from themselves,” said Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie.

    A worthwhile read along these lines is, How to Be Happy Experiencing Other People’s Joy.

    Thanks for the important post on being happy!

  23. Grateful says:

    I am struggling with unrequited happiness from someone for whom I have been very supportive and even influential in their success.

    I always go overboard to show joy and sincere love for people’s successes..small and large. If they plant something, I am complementary. If they cook something, I am complementary. If they acheive ANYTHING, I am the first to show joy.

    I was very influential in supporting the endeavors of a friend who has seen success with a lifestyle blog. If it were not for me she would not have even considered it. Even poo-pooed it when I first suggested it.

    I recently had something cool happen in my life and she would not even acknowledge it. I even gently prodded her for some recognition of it. Nothing. She ignored it. She would not even compliment my husband for whom this thing was most important. In fact, she was questioning and said something negative to him.

    I know she is jealous. I find this so petty. I know I have to understand this is her problem and I should not let it bother me, but it does.

    How do I continue to be a supportive friend? If I continue with my ways if complimenting and support, I will be all the while thinking that I am doing it because she won’t. Will I grow resentful and bitter of this person? Should I distance myself?

    It becomes SO clear when my other friends are thrilled for me, and complimentary…and she is not. Is it just her way? Should I just accept it?

  24. Hector says:

    One word – Amazing! It would really be blissful if we can inculcate that ability and be naturally happy. Just how to do that is another matter and requires a lot of patience and wisdom.

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