Every morning I get up, I get dressed, I come into work, I turn on my computer, I put my lunch in the refrigerator, I get a glass of water and a cup of coffee, I return to my desk, I make sure there are no super important emails to respond to, and I get down to the real business of reading my Google Reader. This morning was no different (except I spent the first 30 minutes of blog-reading on my couch, thus making me 30 minutes later to work. It's Thursday, whatever.) I opened this post, and haven't stopped thinking about it since.
I'm going to copy & paste Caitlin's words here, because I couldn't paraphrase them well even if I tried:
Life is not a supermarket stocked with limited quantities of happiness on the shelves. There are no shelves packed with loving partners, successful jobs, beautiful babies, and nice homes. Just because someone else has a loving partner, successful job, beautiful baby, or nice home doesn’t impact my ability to achieve the same things. Life can’t sell out on happiness.
Life is like the shore, where the ocean meets the sand. There’s room for us all to stand near the waves. The water recedes, the waves crash in. And sometimes, the waves bring in goodness. Washing up right at our feet are loving partners, successful jobs, beautiful babies, and nice homes. What one person receives down the shoreline doesn’t impact your ability to achieve happiness. And sometimes – just sometimes – you have to wade in and take the happiness you want.
In movies, when a terrifying natural disaster is near, everyone rushes to the supermarket, and two crazed women inevitably start fighting over the last loaf of bread. I’m tired of that treating others like we’re all staring down an empty, dusty supermarket shelf.
Caitlin is obviously in a different place in her life than I am in mine, but the point of her message still rings true: we can all achieve happiness, and it doesn't have to be at the expense of someone else.
I had a long conversation with a good friend last night, and he told me that I empathize with others too much. It's true - I take on other people's emotions on top of my own. I'm happy when they are happy, I'm sad when they are sad. I've always been this way, and I think I will always continue to be. But sometimes, just for a minute, I think they should be grateful for what they have, or they should be even happier than they are, and I find myself thinking those things because I am without whatever they are happy about, be it a new relationship or an exciting new job or WHATEVER.