Mudita | The Daily Vulnerable

by Paul Jarvis

In Sanskrit, there’s a term called ‘Mudita,’ and there’s no equivalent word in English. Essentially, it means to have sympathetic or unselfish joy for others—regardless of where they’re at in their own lives. Really, if we spend less time envying or assuming that others think less of us because they’re in a different place than we are, then it becomes easier to focus on what’s important to ourselves.

We can’t figure out our own enough if we’re judging others and comparing where they’re at in their enough journey to ours. It seems to me that the point of ‘Mudita,’ isn’t to be happy for others because we’re unselfish hippies who want bigger drum circles for our Kumbaya festivals. The point is that worrying about, comparing ourselves to, and envying others doesn’t do a whole lot for us and our own mindfulness. We can be better and more focused on finding joy in our own enough or work towards it if we stop assuming that other people’s definitions of enough exist solely to spite us and make us feel bad.

Personally, I struggle a lot with what enough is for me. While I’ve never found myself at a drum circle (yet?), I do feel self-judged sometimes when I read other people’s notes and ideas about how they optimize their lives for less and wonder if I’ve blown past what makes sense for my own enough. This comparison takes up so much of my thought-processes sometimes that whenever I notice myself comparing my enough to someone else’s enough I have to stop myself and get back on track. I’d be a lot happier if I was just stoked for others instead of internally comparing my shortcomings to their accomplishments.

We’d all probably be a lot happier if we did just that.


*Paul Jarvis is a designer and writer who makes simple and humane products. He shares his thoughts, including this piece on his blog.

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