To be happy, you must be grateful.

Mudita (moo-deet-a): when we can be happy for the joys others feel.

DISCLAIMER: I hate to keep hitting you with more Buddhist words (who am I kidding? I love it, shamefully), but it’s what’s at the top of my mind right now. If it offends you, please look away.

Carol got a promotion. “Good for you Carol!”

Jenny just won a trip to Jamaica. “Wow. That’s awesome.”

Larry and Susan just had their dream wedding, all expenses paid by her parents. “Congratulations you two!”

I struggle with mudita. It’s not that I’m not happy for other people. It’s just that, when I see success and happiness in others’ lives, I can’t help but compare that to mine. “Geee. I didn’t just get a promotion.” “I never win anything.” “It’d be nice if my parents even bought me lunch every once and while.” This is not being happy for other people. It’s envy.

Why do we do this? (I know I’m not the only one)

I (we) scroll through Facebook and Instagram browsing through the lives of people I (we) may or not have even met in person and all the while becoming increasingly jealous. Everyone’s lives seem so perfect. Then I (we) proceed to poke holes in the life I (we) thought was perfect.

Is this social media’s fault? Was (were) I (we) more satisfied with my (our) lives before Facebook? Does it have anything to do with satisfaction at all? I don’t know. I was hoping you would answer these questions.

Here’s what I think. It has more to do with gratitude. Like I tell my kids, if we point out the things we are grateful for, we’ll be fully aware of ALL the things we should be grateful for. Then, maybe we’ll be less inclined to point out the things we don’t have.

Here’s what I think:

For mudita, start with gratitude.

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