Comparison is the thief of joy
and my wealth has all slipped away
through the heavy sieve of envy

The swelling warmth of gratitude
has given way to the sweltering heat
of sharp, gnawing jealousy

My eyes keep straining toward empty places
between vast, unobserved abundance
fixated on the violent feeling of unfairness

Cinder blocks of bitter energy build walls
to block my view of countless blessings
souring my simple share of happiness

Unable to stop magnifying this self-induced, unnecessary suffering
while being simultaneously smothered by the shame
of being unsatisfied when I have so much

Engulfed in Anger

Anger is the poison that
paralyzes my higher power
the shackles that keep me separate
swallowed up in thick flames

Burning all the bridges that
could deliver healing waters
an aching exhaustion in my chest
from hopeless, helpless hatred

The violent energy that boils my blood
bubbles up my throat to choke me
lashing out with an instant instinct
I immediately wish I could take back

All consuming, ever growing
a blazing heat that binds and blinds me
rage reducing compassion to ashes
burning up who I've hoped I would be

I can never seem to calm this fire but
let me learn to sit inside the inferno
and keep this liquid lava venom
from seeping out into everyone I love


A poisonous worm eats away at my heart
excreting the thick slurry of selfishness
that runs through my veins

Sudden flare of fierce emotion
at the disclosure of others' good fortune
leaving me feeling ashamed

The wretched sensation of anger
that suffocates more appropriate emotions
choking off a chance to celebrate

A friend's success could be shared
by relinquishing comparison and competition
fed with heavy spoonfuls of self-doubt

The fear that another's joy might threaten my own
as if there is only so much happiness to go around
and my chances of winning that lottery are now lessened

What a sad state of affairs
to let the luck of a loved one tear at me
instead of fill me up

What kind of person am I
that my first instinct is to be unkind
to someone that is thriving?

The best I can muster is to remain silent
when I should be smiling and adding
my positivity to their blossoming abundance 

Vicarious Happiness

Ever since I was young, I have had a hard time being happy for other people. I could never understand how others seemed to feel genuine joy at the success and happiness of those around them. I’ve always felt guilty that my automatic emotional reaction was the exact opposite. I don’t know why, but I always felt threatened when those around me found the happiness that I was searching for. More than anything, I felt jealousy. Even when it was someone I dearly cared for.

Not only that, but it has always been hard for me to hide those shameful feelings and feint excitement. I doubt I was ever able to fool anyone. I feared I wasn’t being a good friend. I was being selfish. I wasn’t capable of sharing in their celebration. I’ve always hated that about myself. But even though I have long recognized it, I don’t know how to change it.

I noticed myself mulling over my sister’s positive life events recently. I seem to feel even more threatened, the closer I am to that person. It is almost like deep in the recesses of my reptilian brain something is telling me that happiness is finite. That the more someone around me has, the less that will be left for me to discover. I know logically that isn’t true. Happiness, like love, is infinite.

Looking back, I have made a small amount of improvement. Now I am genuinely glad for my friends and family when good things occur in their lives. However, it is still overshadowed by self-pity ultimately.

I feel bad that I am wasting so many chances to be happy. The successes of those I love, are also my successes. They are opportunities for me to rejoice at their good fortune, the good fortune of people I care about. I want to keep reminding myself of this. Sometimes I get so swallowed up in myself that I forget that life isn’t all about me. It’s wonderful that it isn’t all about me. I think I would suffer a lot less if I learned to focus more on others. I hope that is something I am able to teach myself. Something I will get better at with practice.