Mudita | Always Aubrey

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mudita

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I've heard of schadenfreude for years... pleasure derived from the misfortune of others.  Whether you attribute circumstances to karma (i.e. he had it coming) or something else, I've never felt good about believing someone deserved misfortune.  I may feel vindicated for a little while, but it's a completely superficial pleasure, often overtaken later by guilty and sympathy for that person.

Life throws you difficult situations; we'll all have ups and downs.  You just have to hope that you'll have a 'winning' record, right?  You have to stay positive and look on the bright side of everything, not getting bogged down by the worries and things you can't control.

I was reading O Magazine (as I've done every month for years), and in the July 2012 issue there is an article entitled "When Envy Strikes"... but it was only a small blurb towards the end of the article that really caught my attention.

The author mentioned mudita, a concept and idea I've never heard of before.  In Buddhism, mudita literally means joy, but it is specifically a sympathetic joy, a joy you feel from delighting in another's well-being, rather than begrudging it.

This idea just blew my mind.  How many times have you heard someone plead, "Can't you just be happy for me?"  Well, why can't we?  If we can learn to feel joy for others when something good happens, they can be there to add to our joy when good comes our way too.  And wouldn't everyone be happier if the triumphs of others made them feeling like they were part of that win?

I'm in a happy place in my life right now, and I would love to think that everyone in my life is legitimately happy for me too.  But it's harder to be happy for others when you aren't in a happy place yourself.  So I am challenging myself, and you, to find a little mudita in your life.  There's happiness out there for you to take, and make your own... and in turn, you'll be a better friend in both good times and bad.  :)

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