How do you feel when you see someone else succeed at something that matters to you?
Are you jealous and resentful?
Are you thrilled for them?
The former is oh so human, and totally understandable.
The latter? Way more fun.
There’s a word for that second feeling: Compersion.
According to whatiscompersion.com, “Compersion is our wholehearted participation in the happiness of others. It is the sympathetic joy we feel for somebody else, even when their positive experience does not involve or benefit us directly. Thus, compersion can be thought of as the opposite of jealousy and possessiveness.”
This term originates from the world of polyamory and consensual non-monogamy.
It’s the name for the pleasure one can feel when an intimate partner is enjoying someone else.
Hold up, though. Compersion isn’t just for those practicing radical relationship styles.
In fact, Buddhism has a very similar term: “Mudita.”
As I learned at Spirit Rock Meditation Center years ago, Mudita is one of the “Four Divine Abodes” (core virtues), along with compassion (karuna), equanimity (uppekha), and lovingkindness (metta). The dorms at Spirit Rock are each named after one of these virtues.
Mudita is basically the same as compersion: “Sympathetic or vicarious joy, or the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s wellbeing.”
Whatever we call it, how do we get more of it, especially if it’s not just flowing?
Here’s what I do to experience more compersion:
I name and notice if I’m feeling jealous or resentful.
I let myself feel it as much as I do.
I notice that I probably also am feeling scared about something. I get curious about what that is.
I remind myself that the world is abundant and that, in this present moment, I have enough of everything.
I wonder what there is that I can feel joyful about. I ask myself to notice it.
I make a point to celebrate others’ joys and successes.
None of the above is easy, but it is pretty simple.
It doesn’t always help me feel more compersion/mudita, and sometimes it does.
Have you ever experienced compersion? Hit reply and tell me about it.
To your joy,
PS – One of my favorite things about the StoryBrand guide community is how well we tend to celebrate and enjoy each others’ successes. It’s just a nice environment to be in!
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.