Being Happy for Others

I have a lot of Facebook friends and, granted, I miss a lot of posts in my news feed because it's jammed and random and ... I honestly don't look at my news feed a lot. I mainly check notifications, which I only get from "closer" friends. I've taken the time to designate close friends and acquaintances in my settings, since I can't interact in any meaningful way with everyone whose friend request I've accepted. And I don't attempt to follow everyone in my news feed.

Having said all that, in spite of a large friend "population" on social media, I am rarely annoyed by the posts of others. If my friends are bragging, I don't seem to notice. But every now and then, I'll see a post complaining about all the bragging on Facebook. And I always wonder why I don't notice it.

I have asked myself ...


Could it be that I don't have any friends who brag while others' news feeds are clogged with bragging and people trying to project a perfect life?

Do I just have the most amazing, humble friends?

Am I simply oblivious, as my blog title claims?

Or ...

Could this have something to do with my attitude toward life and other people? My perception of others? My genuine happiness for the happiness of others?

If you're someone who has expressed your irritation and annoyance with "braggers" on Facebook, please don't be offended by this blog post. I'm not targeting anyone.

My present contemplation of this phenomenon was triggered by a certain person's recent post. But only because it came right on the heels of my many posts and pictures documenting our two exciting days in the recording studio with Cody. I read what I considered to be a sour and downright nasty post clearly directed at someone (who I thought could be me). It felt personal. And it may not have been directed at me. But there were certain words that described me exactly. And when I asked if I was the "annoying person" I got no answer. But later the ugly post was removed.

If you are that person, please know that I am not mad or offended. If you have a problem with my posts and think I'm bragging, I realize you don't even know me. I'm not hurt. I'm just surprised. The last thing I want to do is annoy anyone. But I don't plan to stop promoting Cody or Sarah or sharing happy events on Facebook. And here's why...

I'm genuinely happy for my friends (and strangers too) when they post pictures of their vacations, friends, family, or whatever it is that brings them joy in life. And maybe that's why I assume they feel the same way about sharing my joy. If someone is truly bragging, I realize that is usually rooted in insecurity; a need to impress others that does not stem from true joy or happiness. I might roll my eyes or shake my head in response to a bragger, but I don't spend any focused time on those posts.

When I see friends doing well, living life to the fullest, traveling, enjoying good food or music, dancing, laughing, and most of all pursuing their dreams, I am not resentful. I enjoy the happiness of others.

I know there are people portraying a false self on Facebook. I'm not so naive that I don't recognize pretense. But if we let ourselves dwell on that and be annoyed, we will probably wind up misjudging someone who mistakenly believes her friends are as happy for her as she is for them when life is going well.

If you think someone is bragging or living a "charmed" life they don't deserve, please consider that their life may not have always gone so well or been so charmed. They may have gone through a lot of hell that you don't even know about. I've made my past hell pretty public. But not everyone is able to do that.

I assume that the people I'm sharing happy events with on Facebook are actually friends who enjoy having a window into my life the way I enjoy having a window into theirs.

There is so much pain and suffering in this life and I know how it feels to ache for true happiness. I don't wish that ache on anyone, including my worst enemy (if I have one). I want everyone to thrive and live a joy filled life.

Even at the depths of despair and suffering, never have I resented the happiness of others. When I was in an abusive marriage, I could still feel joy for happy couples. When I was going through a bitter divorce, I didn't fall victim to bitterness. When I lost people close to me far too young or had to watch their suffering, I was still thankful for those who had good health and enjoyed their loved ones into old age.

My life is as good as I could imagine it today, but the uncertainty of a chronic and incurable cancer looms as well. So if my happiness offends you, I just want to remind you that I've had plenty of loss in my life and plenty of miserable days -- not to mention, the reality that none of us knows what lies ahead of us. I'm focused on gratitude and living every day to the fullest. I'm not taking one happy day for granted because I know the only constant in life is change. I have lived long enough to know that I will face future challenges and I will again suffer loss. I'm eventually going to die and I don't have the guarantee of old age. So I'm trying to make the most of every joyful day God gives me.

I've openly shared my joys and sorrows. And I will continue to do so. If you're my friend, I guess I just assume you want that from me because I want it from and for you.

I've made this post very personal and I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. I'm going to post it and if I don't feel comfortable with it, it may disappear later on. But my intent was to provoke introspection, not to make it so much about me.

If you're sitting back, scrolling through Facebook with a sour attitude toward others, maybe the problem isn't 100% the braggers. Ugly posts directed (and misdirected in some cases) toward supposed friends reveals a false friendship ... on your part. Brag all you want to and I will probably not focus on that. But I am likely to distance myself from false friends and bitter people.

Let's be happy for each other! After all, 'Tis the Season! Right???

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