I remember coming across a concept called "schadenfreude." It is a German word for the phenomenon too many people are embarrassed to admit.
What does this phenomenon describe? If you're suffering trials and tribulations in life, and you look in your Facebook timeline - and it turns out that somebody who you admire or envy had something terrible happened to them – maybe their significant other left them - perhaps they got fired from their job, or they got caught stealing - they're in jail or they developed some disease – and you get this really guilty feeling that goes "Well, things are not that bad in my life because look at this poor fool."
It's okay, you can admit it. Schadenfreude happens even to the very best of us. It happens to all of us at some level or another and at some time or another. To deny it would be pointless because everybody knows.
I say this because there's nothing to be embarrassed about. There's nothing to apologize for. It is rooted in your biology.
Imagine two people walking through a forest, and they see a bear. One of the guys drops down to tie his shoelaces tighter. The other guy says to his friend, "What are you doing? That bear is so fast; he'll maul us both to death. You're wasting your time tying your shoes so you can run faster." The other friend finishes tightening his laces and stands back up and, with a straight back, says to the other guy, "I only need to run faster than you." That, my friend, is the essence of schadenfreude.
It's baked into us, this evolutionary instinct to at least be in a better position as somebody else. We're not all that happy, we're not all that fulfilled, things may not be going well in all areas of our lives, but as long as we are in a somewhat better position, that's all that matters.
It is a very destructive mental habit, as biologically hardwired as it may be. It plays a significant role in evolutionary survival. It's easy to figure out. I'm not even going to bore you by stepping you through the explanation. You should be able to piece it together.
The point here is that it's easy to get stuck in schadenfreude and you no longer focus on being happy for yourself. Instead, you're stuck continuously comparing yourself to others.
Believe me, this is the most efficient and lethal and potent way to become miserable. Because everybody in the world can easily make themselves miserable just by comparing themselves.
If you don't believe me, imagine Bill Gates, the world's richest man comparing himself to Lebron James because of his basketball skills. No way in hell is he going to be as good at hoops as King James. It's just not going to happen.
And as ridiculous as this comparison may seem to you, you do it all the time at a certain level. It doesn't do anybody any favors. If anything, it makes you hate other people because you're always lining up the things that are missing in your life to the things that they have. It delights you when bad things happen to them.
Reboot Your Habitual Mental Patterns
We are the products of our mental habits. The good news is that we don't have to be stuck with the habits that we have.
If you are suffering from schadenfreude at some level or another, there is one technique that can help you get out from under its negative and toxic influence.
This technique is 100% natural. It doesn't involve any kind of drug. It is absolutely free of any cult, religion, philosophy or mysticism. Instead, you call the shots. You are in control, and you remain fully aware.
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