That seems cruel. Am I a horrible human being? Maybe. But I cannot be the only one who feels this way sometimes. If I was the only one, there wouldn’t be a word for it. Maybe everyone else who feels it is German.
It’s been a really long time since something great (or even good) has happened to help my current situation. I am not saying that there is nothing good in my life. My friends, my family. There are things. That’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the things in my life that desperately need fixing (or at least improving). The back pain, the financial situation, the job search, and anything else I try to do or accomplish. The things where I can never catch a break. Those things. The things that always go wrong instead of right. The things that get worse instead of better. The things where the news is always bad never good. The things that remind me every day that I am jinxed.
I’m sure that is why I feel that twinge of happiness when something goes wrong for someone else (for a change)… not just me. Maybe I am a horrible human being.
on the flip side…
Because things constantly go wrong for me, I envy people for whom things go well. It physically affects me. Heart pounding, tears falling. Especially people for whom things go well all the damn time… no matter what they do… whether they try or not… whether they make mistakes or not. Things just work out. Everything just falls into place. That has never been me. I wonder what it’s like to be someone like that. I am so envious. Painfully so.
But that’s not schadenfreude (maybe that was just my jumping off point for this post). What I feel is not so much pleasure at someone else’s pain. It’s more the reverse… pain at someone else’s pleasure. The closest [German] term for that is gluckschmerz… defined as feeling unhappy about the good fortune of others. But most people have never heard this word. The closest English translation is envy… but that doesn’t quite grasp the pain and sadness.
I know I’m not ‘supposed to‘ feel this way. But if I’m honest, and I always am (maybe to a fault), I feel this way quite a lot. Daily. It’s no one’s fault (except maybe mine). It’s not like I sit around wishing for things to go wrong for others. But fuck, it hurts when I’m surrounded by others’ successes… by everyone else’s good news… when mine is always bad. It is painful in every way.
It’s so bad that even others’ optimism can upset me. They have positive thoughts… they have drive and motivation… they have a purpose. Why can’t I feel that way? Why can’t I have any of that? My life is shit by comparison. I know I shouldn’t compare, but really… how can I not?
[Aside: Someone is going to tell me to make good things happen for myself. Please don’t bother. You might as well tell me to make my own happiness (that’s not a thing) or make my own luck (neither is this). I’ve said this easily a billion times: If it were that simple, I would have done it by now. I’m not a fucking moron. Some shit is just beyond my control.]
I don’t know how to stop these feelings of schadenfreude and gluckschmerz. Maybe I can’t. All I know is…
… this leaves me with weltschmerz*.
*weltschmerz: a feeling of sentimental sadness or pessimism; the weariness that comes with knowing that the world is going to let you down no matter what and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
©2018 what sandra thinks
(but I did not draw that picture of the girl under the cloud… I could not find the source)