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Schadenfreude?

If you are not familiar with a word Schadenfreude its a term that psychologist gave to a phenomena that we humans experience when we see another human fail. Wikipedia defines it as “the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.”
This not normally discussed in the open as it portrays us in less favourable light. Interestingly enough it is more observed in children that in adults but most likely because grown ups learnt from social conditioning to conceal it. This feeling raises in situation where we see a competitor loosing the game, justice being served by inflicting punishment or misfortune that will result in a benefit to a group that we belong.


While it seems like a bad news that we are wired to be happy when somebody is not its actually not as bad as it seems. Firstly by acknowledging that we do have it in us relieves you of a guilt that you are a terrible person when you teammate didn’t get that promotion you wanted instead. Its normal to feel that you so please relax you aren’t a sociopath.


Secondly we humans experiencing all other kind of emotions for instance when you see someones smile at you what’s your first reaction? Smile back of course! When you see someone fall on a pedestrian walk isn’t your first reaction to jump towards them to see if they need help? We are also hardwired to be kind, compassionate and descent human beings.As one of my mentors saying “if you look for bad things you will find them if you look for good things you will find them too” We are complex beings and have all kinds of things in us.

The solution of course is to make it a choice. Accept that you are perfectly imperfect and do a random act of kindness today. Donate a couple of bucks to a charity, send happy birthday message to a facebook friend you haven’t been in touch with. Make a choice to be a kind and compassionate human being.

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