Happiness of others, why can it hurt us?

Happiness of others, why can it hurt us?

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Some people say that we do not buy a lottery to touch us, but in case it is up to one of our friends. There are also those who say that when we want other people to do well, in reality, we want them to do well but not better than us. How many times have we felt envy or anger that other people do well? Why can we get to feel bad when we think that someone else is doing better than us? Let's find out what's in the background and what prevents us from rejoicing in the happiness of others.


  • 1 Other people's happiness and envy
  • 2 The happiness of others in a voracious society
  • 3 Emotional education
  • 4 Final reflection

Happiness of others and envy

The central emotion behind these negative emotions in the face of the happiness of others is envy. As Cecilio Paniagua (2002) highlights: "envy is maladaptive because it spoils and sometimes completely nullifies the pleasure of admiration, the joy of friendship, the usefulness of fellowship and solidarity, joy for the achievements of others, the contemplation of beauty, skill, ingenuity and, sometimes, the simple desire to emulate the best ".

As highlighted by the team of Ginés Navarro (2016): "Envy is a social emotion characterized by a strongly unpleasant and hostile component, hardly recognized by the people who experience it ". This unpleasant and hostile emotion is triggered by the inability to rejoice over the success of others. In addition, it is important to note that the envious person does not usually recognize this destructive emotion.

The happiness of others in a voracious society

But why does the success of others bother us so much? Why do we feel anger when others do better than us? Living in a society that increasingly demands more from us can take its toll on our social relationships. Success has become synonymous with having more money, more possessions, having a better home than others, an expensive car ... If we are bombarded since we were born with messages that success is material, it is not surprising that those who achieve more material successes than we wake up some envy. We can come to think: "Why does he / she have that car and I don't? I deserve it, even more.".

Instead of educating ourselves in the happiness of others, they educate us in competition. There are non-implicit social norms and unconscious learning through which our goal in life is to aspire to the fullest... But this maximum is material. That is why the happiness of others regarding material possessions or work success can arouse fierce envy in us and even distance us from friends and family. Since we are little we are educated for a working life, but where are the emotional teachings? Why don't they teach us emotional education? Could it be a solution to this unpleasant emotion?

Emotional education

Emotional education involves learning to know ourselves. Today we live focused outward, towards external stimuli. Through a good emotional education we could start living looking more inward. However, it is not about looking at our navel, but about learning introspection. All of it it would involve knowing our emotions, our thoughts, etc. Instead of feeling so much anger or envy, we would learn to rejoice in the happiness of others and in this way, instead of feeling a negative emotion, we would feel a positive emotion.

Bisquerra (2002) defines emotional education as: "An educational process, continuous and permanent, that It aims to enhance emotional development as an indispensable complement to cognitive development, constituting both the essential elements of the development of the integral personality ".This definition shows that emotional education should not be specific, but rather continuous. If we want to get strong we will not go to the gym from time to time, but we will go frequently. On an emotional level something similar happens, the path of emotional learning must be constant.

Bisquerra also proposes that: "For it - emotional education- the development of knowledge and skills about emotions in order to train the individual to better face the challenges that arise in everyday life. All this aims to increase personal and social well-being. "Through the acquisition of knowledge and skills about emotions, we will learn to manage ourselves better in situations that we may consider adverse. For example, when we consider someone to offend us, instead of reacting with anger and causing greater evil, We can understand that your attack is the result of a mishandling of your emotions. In this way, our reaction will not be negative and we will know how to maintain serenity and calm.

Final reflection

Steiner and Perry (1997), defined emotional education as three types of capabilities: "The ability to understand emotions, the ability to express them in a productive way and the ability to listen to others and feel empathy for their emotions."Through this type of education, we can stop suffering for the happiness of others and rejoice for them. In this way, the seeds of envy and rage will cease to be so strong and we will be able to enjoy more joy and happiness.


Navarro, G., Beltrán, A., Valor, I. and Expósito, F. (2016). What is envy? Cognitive Science, 10 (3), 70-73.

Paniagua, C. (2002). Psychology of envy. Ars Medica. Journal of Medical Humanities, 1, 35-42.

Vivas, M. (2003). Emotional education: fundamental concepts. Sapiens. University Research Magazine, 4 (2).