I remember coming across a concept called "schadenfreude." This is a German word for the phenomenon too many people are embarrassed to admit.
What does this phenomenon describe? When you're suffering your trials and tribulations and you look in your Facebook timeline and it turns out that somebody who you used to admire or envy had something bad happened to them – maybe their significant other left them, maybe they got fired from their job, maybe they got caught stealing or they're in jail or they've developed some sort of disease, or something bad happened to them – and you get this really guilty feel that, "Well, things are not that bad in my life because look at this poor fool."
It's okay, you can admit it. Schadenfreude happens even to the very best of us. In fact, it happens to all of us at some level or another and at some time or another. To deny it would be pointless because everybody knows.
I say this because there's nothing to be embarrassed about. There's nothing to apologize for. This is rooted in your biology.
Imagine two people walking through a forest and they see a bear. One of the guys drops down to tie his shoelaces tighter. The other guy says to his friend, "What are you doing? That bear is so fast, he's going to maul us both to death. You're wasting your time tying your shoes so you can run faster."
The other friend finished tightening his laces and stood back up and, with a straight back, said to the other guy, "I only need to run faster than you." That, my friend, is the essence of shadenfreude.
It's baked into us, this evolutionary instinct to at least be in a better position as somebody else. We're not all that happy, we're not all that fulfilled, things may not be going well in all areas of our lives, but as long as we are in a somewhat better position, that's all that matters.
This is a very corrosive mental habit, as biologically hardwired as it may be. It definitely plays a big role in evolutionary survival. It's easy to figure out. I'm not even going to bore you by stepping you through the explanation. You should be able to piece it together.
The point here is that it's very easy to get stuck in schadenfreude and you no longer focus on being happy for yourself. Instead, you're constantly stuck comparing yourself to others.
Believe me, this is the most efficient and lethal and potent way to become miserable. Because everybody in the world can easily make themselves miserable just by comparing themselves.
If you don't believe me, imagine Bill Gates, the world's richest man comparing himself to Lebron James in terms of basketball skills. Bill Gates is one of the most powerful and richest man in the world, but believe me, he will feel miserable because he just doesn't have it. No way in hell is he going to be as good at hoops as King James. It's just not going to happen.
And as ridiculous as this comparison may seem to you, you do it all the time at a certain level. It doesn't do anybody any favors. If anything, it makes you hate other people because you're always lining up the things that are missing in your life to the things that they have. It delights you when bad things happen to them.
Reboot Your Habitual Mental Patterns
We are the products of our mental habits. The good news is that we don't have to be stuck with the habits that we have.
If you are suffering from schadenfreude at some level or another, there is one technique that can help you get out from under its negative and toxic influence.
This technique is 100% natural. It doesn't involve any kind of drug. It is absolutely free of any cult, religion, philosophy or mysticism. Instead, you call the shots. You are in control, and you remain fully aware.