It’s not envy, but it’s not nice and it doesn’t feel good, either-

Great podcast on envy this week. I’ve noticed in myself that when people report their successes to me, I feel a pang of competitiveness that prevents me from celebrating others’ victories. I hate this feeling, it’s like a scarcity-born begrudging of other people’s joy. Then I probably have a follow up thought about my thought, like, I’m such a dick, why can’t I just be happy for people?

I can’t find any reason within me for feeling it, either, but it happens frequently. I might not say out loud, “Well that’s just GREAT,” like Brooke’s envious friend, but I have a similar internal experience and superficially I’ll say something encouraging. I would prefer my insides to match my superficial words of encouragement. I do want to feel happy for others.

I wondered, was I always like this? Or did I develop it over time? I recalled a memory from kindergarten when I was upset that another kid got a star on their paper, because I wanted to be the best student (or, like, the only literate student? I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, I was five-)

I can’t quite catch the thought when it happens, so it’s not been possible to model it very well, either. It’s not really envy, because I don’t want them to not have their good-news-thing, it’s like a competitiveness in which I’m not confident about my achievements yet so I can’t hear other people’s wins and enjoy it for them if I don’t have any of my own?

It seems like this is just an innate tendency, and over-focusing on the how and the why and the “what’s wrong with me” isn’t getting me anywhere either. Is it better to just shut up and move on, stop thinking about why you are the way you are, make your calendar of things and do them and if you can’t feel genuinely happy for other people, who cares?

Here’s a few partial models on it. For background on these, I am also losing weight and I don’t actually wish I got a new job–I really like my job, so in both models the thoughts and resentment make no sense to me.

C: X says, I lost 2 kilo on my diet.
T: [Don’t know, some ephemeral not feeling happy for the other person]
F: Resentment
A: I say, “That’s great.”
R: [nebulous unhappiness]

C: X says, I got the job.
T: I wish I got a new job
F: Resentment
A: I say, “That’s great.”
R: Me just thinking about myself while others have good news