A client (we'll call her Sue) reported having had a terrible time at her sister's wedding. Sue was still reeling from a recent breakup, and seeing another person's happiness in love felt painful.
It didn't have to be. I learned from a piece in Greater Good Magazine (link below) that there's such a thing as "positive empathy," which occurs when we allow ourselves to feel another person's happiness in such a way that we benefit ourselves. We experience that person's joy as if it were our own. It's an interesting variation on the sort of empathy we normally think of when we hear the word: someone is suffering, and we compassionately feel his pain. Here instead, we enjoy connecting with someone else's pleasure, and thereby experience that pleasure too.
Positive empathy would have helped Sue abandon the thought, My sister is living the life I want, and think instead, I can feel my sister's good fortune as if it were my own. My guess is that this switch in orientation on Sue's part would facilitate the appearance of a new relationship.
From Greater Good Magazine:
You're reading the Bad Thoughts Blog, which maintains that feeling good is as simple as thinking a better thought. I'm Debbie Covino, hypnotherapist, coach, and creator of the Master Your Own Mind self-hypnosis program, available at www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com/store
Click here to get your free Memory Spa Audio: www.hypnotic-wellbeing.com
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