Years ago a friend of mine announced merrily that she and her husband were going on vacation in Hawaii.

Before a pure thought entered my brain, the words “Must be nice” fell out of my mouth. All I could think was how I had always dreamt of going to Hawaii. Why them? Why not me?

She looked at me for a minute and said, “Actually it is nice, and I wish people could be happy for me.”


I’ve always remembered that day. A lesson to treasure.

Every time we communicate, we have a chance to grow or harm a relationship. Think about who you call or text to share your wonderful news. Who comments on your Facebook post when your child wins an award or on LinkedIn when you get promoted? Are they a lover or a hater of your good fortune?

Last weekend, I mentioned to a friend that I was so grateful for having an amazing couple clean my home and how strange it was that some of our friends felt the need to judge that. His reply was, “I can’t even afford that.”

My ego wanted to snap, “Everyone has choices. You go places I don’t.” Then I remembered my friend’s news to me about Hawaii. Oops, I’ve done it too! And this friend has such a big heart. I’m sure he did it unconsciously.

Listen closely to the people around the water cooler, at family events, and at often dreaded school reunions. Have you heard… I don’t even make that much, and I’m an insert-occupation… We could have had one of those too, but we thought it wasn’t worth the money… Well, my son won MVP twice last season… His father probably got her the job… So what are you selling to afford that new car/trip/computer?… and other comments that show how easy it is to compare ourselves to other people when we could be listening and celebrating with them.

Challenge yourself to be present and to be happy for other people. Being positive is a choice and a habit. Being genuinely pleased for other people blesses what abundance they have ~ romance, money, homes, boats, business achievements ~ and brings it closer to you.

In fact, fake it if you must until it flows naturally, We’re all works in progress.

Practice often because very soon, I’ll be telling you, “Guess what? I booked this fabulous vacation to Maui. It is going to be awesome!”


  1. Karen Presecan on July 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve said that before..”Must be nice!” What a great reminder, even though we don’t mean harm, words we use can cause hurt. Love your uplifting post!

    • Catherine on July 24, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      I love how calling people on stuff like that ~ gently please ~ makes them aware, and improves our relationships

  2. Karla Campos (@SocialMediaSass) on July 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I am very sensitive to people’s emotions (almost like I feel what they feel) so I can understand why someone would say “must be nice” and how the other person feels when they are told that. This is great advice that you give because many people are used to reacting in a negative way because that is all they know and this is important information for those in a negative state to get to a positive mindset.

  3. Carolyn Hughes on July 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    This post put a smile on my face even though I was cringing slightly at how often I’ve stood at the school gates while someone has announced their latest trip of a lifetime, or that their child has won an award or their husband has landed a promotion. And I knew I ought to have been nice but I wasn’t. I pretended not to hear or mumbled ‘Lucky for you’. Oh dear. Must try harder!

  4. Olga Hermans on July 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    I absolutely love your advice; sometiems it comes easy and sometimes not so much. But like you say it is a choice to bring some joy into our reaction and we can do it; it is the other person’s experience who is excited to share her/his travels with you. This is something that happens both ways. Great advice!!

  5. Martha Giffen on July 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    The problem here is that people can’t see the universe for what it is. There is abundance for all! Just because someone has more than another, doesn’t mean they were depriving the other of something! It’s such a faulty way of thinking and I would love to change each and every person’s mindset in that matter! Obviously, if people are in a competitive mindset, the world will always seem like a harsh place. I choose to think otherwise and be joyful for others.

    • Catherine on July 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm

      you’re right, Martha. there is abundance for all 🙂

  6. Sherie Venner (@trancingqueen) on July 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    What a great post and a wonderful reminder that we do have a choice in whether we are positive or not. When we resent the good that comes into other peoples lives, we get in the way of having good things come into our lives, too! : D

  7. Elizabeth L Maness on July 24, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    i LOVE THIS!!! I don’t really understand jealousy that well. I am always happy for the great things that happen to other people. I feel a part of their joy and get excited too! Life wouldn’t have much excitement in it if I only got excited about the things that were great for me! My sister that is 13 months younger than me and I tried out for the same cheerleader squad. She made cheerleader and I didn’t. I came home from the tryout to find my sister crying in the bathroom saying I’m so sorry please don’t be mad at me. I hugged her and told her I was so proud of her and of course I wanted to make it too but I sure wasn’t made that she did. My sister to this day was one of the best cheerleaders that ever attended our school. I still say it with pride too!

    I I am guilty of letting the petty things people say hurt my feelings.Often it is said out of jealously and I forget that I need to work on it! THAT has got to change.. how we react to thoughtless words is a choice too!!..;)

    • Catherine on July 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      Wayne Dyer says that being offended is a choice. I guess the good news and the challenge is that we are in charge of our own lives. 🙂

  8. marie leslie on July 25, 2012 at 1:29 am

    What a great post. Life is SO much nicer when we can learn to let go and rejoice with all the good news that is out there to embrace.

  9. meryl444 on July 25, 2012 at 1:47 am

    This is a great reminder! I can’t remember the last time I envied someone’s good fortune. I suspect I’ll find myself in that place again, and remembering your “ouch” experience will, hopefully, be enough to rejoice in her/his good news.

  10. Tara on July 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Yep, I’ve been there too! I am trying really hard to consider other people’s fortune as a blessing. Sometimes I fail but I just pick myself back up and try again 🙂

    • Catherine on July 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      You’re right, We all need to a good reset sometimes 🙂

  11. lisafrederiksenbreakingthecycles on July 25, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I love this post — especially this advice, “Challenge yourself to be present and to be happy for other people.” It is so true — we never know the ins and outs and whys of people’s choices, nor should it be our place to judge.

  12. Cathy Hull Taughinbaugh on July 27, 2012 at 1:51 am

    I’ve been in your shoes myself a few times. I’ve just let the envy get the better of me. When we feel full, even if it’s not monetarily, we can be happy for others.

    • Catherine on July 27, 2012 at 11:35 am

      So true, Cathy. What I say and do is all about me.

  13. Lisa Birnesser (@LisaBirnesser) on July 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I loved this article, Catherine. Being conscious of interactions with other people brings awareness to all sorts of beliefs we weren’t aware of. Thanks so much for sharing this topic.

  14. Gretchen Pritts on July 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Wow, that is so true. It is amazing how often we say that. I’ve really tried to stop myself from even thinking it, but sometimes it does just pop out. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Barbara Peters on July 28, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    Trying to be grateful for other’s happiness is hard at time.. but it can really change how we look at the world and see ourselves when we are!

  16. Catherine on July 28, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    It definitely can!

  17. Anita Fiander on July 29, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I grew up with jealous parents so its something that I really have no attachment to. Sure I want things, but not because anyone else has them. I have always fought for the underdog so to speak and to see others have and do things makes me happy:) The older I get the more I realize that less is more 🙂

  18. Sharon O'Day on July 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Catherine, I remember saying “must be nice” a lot … in my head. But once I revisited my relationship with money, and realized that real wealth is not represented by what someone has and what someone does (lots of unhappy people on expensive jaunts!), I no longer felt that way. And when I hear it today, my response is “It is, and I wish the same for you.”

  19. R Helena Bowers on July 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I used to say it without thinking, until someone did it to me once when I was really excited and it hurt so badly I’ve never done it since. Now I’m much more inclined to be excited for them, and it feels so much better. 🙂

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