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Building Connections and Boosting Happiness

Celebrate the victories of others.
Celebrate the victories of others.

In a world where social media feeds are often filled with carefully curated highlight reels and the ever-present temptation to compare ourselves to others, the pursuit of better health has become increasingly paramount. Amidst the daily struggles and personal battles we face, there lies a simple yet profound practice that can uplift our spirits and transform our perspective – celebrating the victories of others. This approach, known as Freuden-Freud, starkly contrasts its negative counterpart, Schadenfreude, and has the potential to nurture our own growth and happiness.

The Science Behind Freuden-Freud: A Positive Chain Reaction

Freuden-Freud, a term derived from the German words for "joy" and "joyful," encapsulates the idea of taking genuine pleasure in the successes and triumphs of those around us. This concept is rooted in the understanding that positive emotions, such as happiness and joy, are not finite resources. Instead, they have the potential to expand and resonate within us when shared and celebrated collectively.

When people participate in positive events and experiences shared by others, they're more likely to experience elevated levels of well-being. This sense of collective celebration creates a positive chain reaction: witnessing the accomplishments of friends, family, or even acquaintances triggers feelings of happiness within us, which, in turn, can inspire us to pursue our own goals and accomplishments.

The Dark Side of Comparison: Schadenfreude and its Effects

On the flip side of the emotional spectrum lies Schadenfreude, a term coined from the German words for "harm" and "joy." Schadenfreude involves taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others. While it might provide momentary amusement or a fleeting sense of superiority, indulging in Schadenfreude can lead to negative emotions and a toxic mindset.

Research has shown that engaging in Schadenfreude can evoke feelings of guilt, shame, and a diminished sense of empathy. It can perpetuate a cycle of negativity, eroding the social bonds essential for a healthy support system. Moreover, dwelling in this mindset can hinder personal growth and impair mental health over time as the focus shifts from self-improvement to the misfortunes of others.

Choosing Joy: Embracing Freuden-Freud for Better Health

In a world where social comparison is almost unavoidable, actively choosing Freuden-Freud can offer a path toward greater well-being and resilience. Here's how:

Cultivate Empathy: Celebrating others' successes cultivates empathy and compassion. When I see a friend or client conquer a tough exercise routine or hit a new personal best, I know the sweat and determination that went into it. It encourages me to recognize the efforts and challenges behind their achievements, fostering a more understanding and supportive attitude.

Inspiration and Motivation: Witnessing the triumphs of others can serve as a wellspring of inspiration and motivation. Their progress serves as a reminder that hard work pays off, encouraging me to push my boundaries. Witnessing their determination fuels my enthusiasm for my fitness journey, reminding me we're all on this growth path together.

Building Positive Connections: Engaging in collective celebrations strengthens relationships, creating a positive atmosphere of mutual support. When we cheer each other on during challenging workouts or celebrate personal victories, it creates a sense of camaraderie that extends beyond the gym. These shared moments of success forge a bond beyond just exercise partners; we become a supportive community that uplifts and empowers one another through every step of our fitness journeys.

Enhanced Self-Esteem: Unlike the's pitfalls of Schadenfreude, Freuden-Freud helps boost self-esteem. Recognizing that your joy for others does not detract from your own achievements promotes a healthy self-image.

Expanding Positive Emotions: Sharing in others' joy expands positive emotions within us. When my workout buddy achieves something remarkable, I feel proud to be a part of their journey. This realization boosts my confidence, reminding me that our shared support and encouragement contribute to each other's achievements. It's a beautiful reminder that we're all in this together, building each other up and growing stronger.


Celebrating others' wins is not just an act of kindness; it's a powerful tool for enhancing our health and well-being. By choosing Freuden-Freud over Schadenfreude, we can create a virtuous cycle of positivity that uplifts ourselves and those around us. In a world that often emphasizes competition, celebrating others' victories can be a genuine source of personal growth, joy, and lasting fulfillment.

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