How Can I Be Happy of Others' Accomplishments?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Inky 7 months, 1 week ago.

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    I’ve actually been a lurker here for quite some time so, in addition to the therapy I’ve been going, I feel like this site does help as well, hence why I’m here today.

    I cannot be happy of other’s accomplishments in life, whether big or small. Even if I don’t know the person personally, my heart sinks when I’ve seen that you’ve met a celebrity or you’ve travelled to an exotic location, won an award. I never think these accomplishments are an attack on me, rather, my automatic thought is “that could’ve been me”, “your experience was so much better than mine” and “if I had done things differently, I could’ve had this experience.” Every reminder of these events, makes me so anxious and uncomfortable, I sometimes don’t know what to do with myself. What’s even worse, and truly horrible in my opinion, is that I look for opportunities to get a step above another person and almost thrive on showing off to others my life experiences just so I feel better.

    It’s not like I don’t have great life experience in turn, nor do I have a bad life in comparison to others. But it’s that same comparison that slowly eating away at me. I know my low self esteem is the root of this problem and I know comparing myself and my “should” mentality contributes to my problems but, I think I’ve done it for so long, I can no longer help it. I try to be grateful for what I have, but it feels fake. Like I’m not truly grateful and lying to myself. I try to be happy for others in those instances and that feels fake too. The only thing that works so far is limiting my social media time, but that feels like avoidance and doesn’t help me figure out what to do when faced with this problem outside of social media.

    I also have been recently diagnosed with PTSD due to a bad car accident I was in a couple of months ago. This has caused all of my emotions, including anxiety, to just feel more intense than usual. Silver lining in all of this is that it forced me to go back into therapy. But without the ability to go to my therapist for the next couple of days, I feel really horrible right now.

    • This topic was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  CarelessOwl.


    Dear thecarelessowl:

    The way I think about feelings: what you feel about other people’s accomplishments and whatever you feel at any time- it is okay to feel what you feel. None of your feelings make you a bad person, or less worthy person than others. Our feelings are automatic mental events in our brains, we don’t choose them and so, they are not evidence of our innocent or guilt or worth. Behind every emotion we feel there is a valid message that needs to be listened to.

    You wrote: “I try to be grateful for what I have, but it feels fake. Like I’m not truly grateful and lying to myself. I try to be happy for others in those instances and that feels fake too.”-

    Better not TRY to feel any different than you do. Better find that valid message in what you do feel. Here is an example of a possible valid message in such feelings: as a child, a parent compared you- unfavorably- to a sibling, finding you lacking, showing the sibling approval and affection. You were very hurt. Now, this is only an example. What do you think the valid message might be in your case?




    I think the valid message in my case is, I am trying to find my self worth in external things. Looking at all these people who have “accomplished” more than me hurts because these are not things I can add to my list to make me feel “worthy”. I am unworthy for not accomplishing as much.



    Dear thecarelessowl:

    How were you treated as a child, by your parents?




    I think I was treated well for the most part. There definitely were comparisons made between me and my cousins whenever I did something wrong in regards to chores, things of that nature. My mother is also a criticizer, like any mother to be honest. My dad isn’t the emotional type but he would show his love for my brother and me through the things he did for us.



    Dear carelessowl:

    I tend to agree with you: many mothers, maybe most (although not all), are negatively critical of their children. And yet, even though it is so very common, I don’t think it makes it easier for a single child. Comparisons, to our disadvantage, as children, simply hurt. As children we are so invested in getting the parents’ approval, appreciation; we are so desperate for their seeing us as valuable people, that such comparisons hurt to the core.

    Later, often enough, we forget how badly it hurt as children, dissociate from that memory, at least the emotional part of the memory. And yet, that emotion of hurt- and its companion, anger resurface by attaching itself to- in your case, I believe- to anyone who accomplishes things.

    What do you think?




    That makes sense anita. I can’t recall the intensity of the emotion I felt back then but, I do remember feeling bad about these comparisons. And I guess over time I’ve learned to carry this comparison tool around with me, to the point where I can’t stop.



    Dear thecarelessowl:

    I believe that the hurt of past needs to be acknowledged, expressed, processed. If that is done, then it will stop attaching itself to other people’s accomplishments and you will have peace. Wouldn’t that be nice- to not longer be troubled?

    Competent psychotherapy is the best place for this work- in an office, with an empathetic professional- is that a possibility for you?

    If it helps, you can try expressing that hurt and anger writing, here or elsewhere, or sharing about it in a support group. If you choose to do so, don’t pressure yourself to remember, emotionally what happened. Be as calm as you can be, as gentle and as patient with yourself as possible, and just write/ type, if you so choose.



    Nina Sakura

    Dear thecarelessowl,

    Here is the thing – someone will always be better or worse than you depending on what criteria you choose.

    The problem worsens when you have no specific criteria even.

    The first thing you need to come to terms with is the traumatic experience of the accident. The emotions you are especially going through are also a manifestation of the anxiety of that event. You may be feeling more on the edge than ever and that is normal in this case.

    A friend of mine once had a car accident too. He lost his girlfriend that night, literally saw her die and since then, he has been terrified of blood in particular. It took him a while to make the journey through the same road route again but with time and practise, he was able to overcome that. But yeah, some traces of that fear remain. He won’t ever let any of us sit on a particular side of a vehicle again because that’s where she sat. He always sits there instead.

    You can’t change the event though no matter how many times you see others experiences and wish it was you instead.

    The other thing is – do you really know who you are? Do you understand what you actually want in your life and to satisfy what need? Self awareness is a very under-rated thing but it is key to resolving this.

    Then the question of, is what I am good enough? Some people struggle with this their whole life and try hard to fit into labels and get a point over others. Life gets wasted this way and by the time they finally realise, that precious time is gone. The purpose of critique was not to undervalue you but to show you a possible way to improve.

    As children, we often don’t see the subtext of things, we go by text too literally and internalize it thinking something is wrong with us. But as adults, we have the capability to know our emotions better and see them as signs to work on ourselves.

    Take your emotions as signs on what needs to be worked on. That could be your own thinking process, your way of leading life, areas of improvement.




    Hi thecarelessowl,

    I will let you know on some of the teachings from Neale Donald Walsch.

    “You cannot experience what you do not allow others to experience.”

    So if you see someone meeting a celebrity, allow them to meet the celebrity. Let them enjoy. Let them have a great time.
    If someone has traveled to an exotic location or won an award, allow them to be as it is. Let them have the time of their lives.

    If your automatic thought “that could’ve been me” kicks in – then start a new practice of reminding yourself of a new shift in perception-
    “I cannot experience what I do not allow others to experience. If I need all of these things (celebrity, exotic locations, award) in my life, then I need to allow other people to have them too. They too are part of this planet. They too are fellow beings here on earth. If I allow things to be for them, then the same things will be allowed to me by Life/Universe at a different time”

    When you want for the whole world what you want for yourself- peace, joy, wisdom, happiness, love, abundance, bliss, public attention, great vacations, awards – you multiply the energy you send out – the cycle begins with you and completes with you (which also means the experience comes to you). It has to come. It’s a Universal Law. It has no other choice.

    “I try to be grateful for what I have, but it feels fake. Like I’m not truly grateful and lying to myself. I try to be happy for others in those instances and that feels fake too.”

    From now on start a new practice. STOP thinking of gratefulness for others (thinking) and START doing something great for others (acting/doing).
    Do not worry about you. Your life will be taken care of (by the cycle explained above). Worry about everyone whose life you will touch.

    Love, abundance, compassion, forgiveness, understanding…… The fastest way to experience that you are these things is to BE these things. And the fastest way to experience yourself being these things is to give these things away.

    Give others every experience you wish to seek.
    The fastest way to have any experience is to cause others to have the same experience. Whatever you wish to experience in your own life, cause another to experience in theirs.
    If you wish to experience love, cause another to be loved.
    If you wish to experience abundance, cause another to be abundant.
    If you wish to experience success, cause another to be successful.
    If you wish to experience forgiveness, cause another to be forgiven.
    If you wish to experience peace, cause another to be at peace.

    This also includes causing another to experience having the time of their lives.

    First focus on the other, always the other, never first on the Self. Whatever you wish to create for yourself, create for another.

    And this can be done in innumerable ways depending on what you are good at and what you enjoy doing the most, but keeping in mind it is at first for the benefit of others……
    Because what you bring to another, you bring to the Self.

    Take Care,



    Hi thecarelessowl,

    When I feel that way I think it’s not so much jealousy as it’s the feeling that I’m falling behind. I blame media and the school system! LOL!

    The media is easy to explain. You can’t be the “best” at anything anymore. Now we compete with the world. In the old days you KNEW if you were, say, the best seamstress in town. You didn’t worry about The Kingdom or even know about the seamstress in the next village. And would get your self worth from that. So if you neighbor met The Queen, you would be delighted!

    And in school you have a syllabus, curriculums and grades. You knew exactly what to do and what to expect. If you did well, you’d get good grades and awards. In adult life it’s like the wild west. There is no rhyme or reason sometimes, why good things happen to middling people. And if they get an award, we’re all like, “Should I have gone for the same award? What if I went for it and failed and this person still got it, that would be tragic!”

    My advice is to pick one or two things you can put your heart and soul in and truly enjoy. Focus on those. The old feelings might come back, but there is nothing like being a little obsessed and taking delight in your own meaningful projects.



    • This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by  Inky.
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