Alan Weiss’s Monday Morning Memo® – 12/25/2023
Merry Christmas! May you and your family experience the joys and good will of this season.
I thought it might be appropriate to speak today of freudenfreude. Most of us are familiar with schadenfreude, which is pleasure derived from another’s misfortune, typically an “enemy” or someone we don’t care for.
Freudenfreude is the antithesis, a feeling of joy over someone else’s good fortune. It seems to me that this is the perfect gift not just for the holidays, but for all of our interactions. Of course, we’ll never escape shadenfreude as the default for our reactions to braggarts, passive-aggressives, and similar personality defects.
But we can readily share enough good will and positive feelings when others have succeeded, certainly on their own merits, with their own hard work, and at no “cost” to us. When I ran the sprints in track, I never felt bad about losing to someone else who was simply faster on that day. We see great examples of sportsmanship today when losing team members congratulate the winning team members.
So instead of “here she goes again” when someone is sharing a victory, perhaps we should respond with, “That’s great, tell us how you did it!”
There’s an enrichment in sharing others’ victories and successes because you don’t have to rely solely on your own to boost your spirits. It’s an emollient for a great deal that might ail you.
Freudenfreude: The gift that keeps on giving, to both sender and recipient.
Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling. —Edna Ferber
For it is in giving that we receive. —Francis of Assisi
I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. —Shirley Temple
The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn’t for any religious reasons. They couldn’t find three wise men and a virgin. —Jay Leno
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