My best friend and I talk about this all the time. How is it possible to be truly and purely happy for someone else’s good fortune?
It’s entirely possible for me to feel nothing but pure happiness at someone else’s good fortune, unless that someone else does the same thing I do – with better effect and for a great deal more recompense.
While I unreservedly agree with everything Thomas Jefferson said about manners, how they mask the want of actual grace and good humor, the key word is “mask.” If I were to say, “I’m thrilled that your book sold for a million dollars and there’s already a movie deal!” anyone who heard me would know from my voice that I was covering up a hornet’s nest of wicked and corrosive envy. Would I receive credit just for making the effort, even if it involved a lie?
(Perhaps I could simply try saying, “Wow! Your book sold for a million dollars and there’s already a movie deal, six months before publication! Way to go!” because this reveals the facts, and how aware I am of those facts, without giving away even a speck of my malaise.)
How do I rid myself of this? A former business associate of mine once said to me, “Think about it. Would you really rather have someone else’s house or career?”
All I could think was, yes, absolutely, just try me.
Hopeless. – JM