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Celebrating others when you’re going through a tough time

Roamers Therapy | May 2023

When you’re going through a tough time, it can be hard to see the success of others, especially those close to you. Your response to your loved ones’ happiness and success may make you feel like you’re a bad person and may be confusing if you’re experiencing conflicting emotions, but these feelings are normal. On the one hand, you want to celebrate them, but on the other, feelings of envy or self-deprecation may arise. When you are going through a difficult time due to work, finances, interpersonal conflict, or more, the ideal outcome is overcoming that struggle. When other people are experiencing good fortune, it can be easy to fall into a comparison trap. Seeing someone else’s success can lead to inaccurate judgments about yourself and your worth or cause you to experience resentment towards others. It is possible to validate your feelings about the situation while supporting your loved one’s achievements. 

If you are at a celebratory event or are conversing with a loved one about a milestone they have reached, separate the present moment from your experiences outside of it. 

For example, if you get caught up in thinking about the job you don’t like while at your friend’s wedding, it will be hard for you to be happy for them and enjoy the event. Instead, you can let your worries stay at the back of your mind and hold what you hear, taste, smell, touch and see at the forefront. 

Once you are on your own, it is important to engage in self-reflection. Part of this involves allowing yourself to feel what is coming up for you regarding your loved one’s success. Is jealousy arising because you want something that they have? Is anxiety arising because you doubt your ability to succeed? You can notice the feelings coming up for you without letting those thoughts take over your mind. These feelings most likely arise from insecurity or struggle in your job, love life, or other areas. Remind yourself that no two people are alike, and you do not have to hold the thought of your struggle in unison with the thought of the good fortune of others. When you isolate your experience from others, you can better set goals that reflect your values, create a growth plan, and identify resources or people that can be useful to you throughout your journey. 

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.