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Letter for Friday, April 5, 2019

Be happy for others and share the good news

I am struck by your editorial (TGI, Wellness, April 3) on good news versus bad news, and how people in general tend to prefer bad news over good. Maybe we operate from an assumption that we will feel better about ourselves if we can compare ourselves to someone else and find that we’re doing better than they are in some way.

But we have a choice about how to make ourselves feel better. There is another way, as you indicated in your editorial. The practice of finding your own happiness by rejoicing over the good fortune of others is an ancient one.

The Sanskrit word “mudita” refers to this. It is an attitude that can be cultivated fairly easily. As the Dalai Lama points out, “If I am only happy for myself, many fewer chances for happiness. If I am happy when good things happen to other people, billions more chances to be happy.”

I have had the privilege of meeting many people who operate from this stance, both on Kauai and elsewhere. Maybe there aren’t enough of them to make a good-news newspaper profitable yet, but their numbers and their happiness are growing.

Sue Coan, Lihue

  1. RG DeSoto April 5, 2019 8:14 am Reply

    This is an excellent letter, Sue. It is indeed unfortunate that so many people operate out of envy, preferring to destroy or discredit someone else’s good fortune. I’ve always found it hugely useful to emulate the people that have earned their good fortune by proper preparation and hard work.
    RG DeSoto

  2. Mark Beeksma April 6, 2019 1:15 pm Reply

    Great letter. I wanted to refer to a great book, Factfulness. This book explains the amazing good news that severe poverty worldwide has been reduced to a small portion of what it was a generation or two ago. Most people are completely unaware of this good news.

  3. I saw a Vampire once April 6, 2019 5:25 pm Reply

    Some people refer to this person as the goodman of the house. Rejoices when others are better than him. Goodness is a word most people don’t associate with. But that’s just one aspect to the extreme of eastern civilization, the jews, later adopted by christians.

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