David Strittmatter

Cheering for people you don’t like

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. – Oprah Winfrey

Dear friend,

When I was in high school, there were 2 people I didn’t like.

I hated it when they received a better grade than I did. I couldn’t be cheerful for them but rather felt resentment.

This hate made me feel worse than I already felt. I didn’t like that. I didn’t want to feel this way.

So, I more and more learned how to not compare to others and solely focus on my own. I decided that the only person I compare myself to is the best version I could be.

I stopped caring about others, their successes, and their failures. It’s just about me and my previous performance.

Cheering for people you don’t like

Not caring for others is better than feeling resentment. But we’re social beings. We need each other to experience joy.

In university, I read a lot about positive psychology (aka the science of happiness). Cheering for others and celebrating their successes are key drivers of happiness – even if we don’t like the other person.

I asked myself why should I not cheer for another person? I couldn’t come up with a good reason. Rather, I elicited a long list of reasons why I should:

  • I don’t compete with them – I compete only vs. the best version I could be
  • I feel joy when celebrating the success of another person
  • I get along better with the other person
  • I better learn from her/ his success

How to celebrate the success of another person

If you’re having trouble celebrating others’ success start by celebrating those closest to you:

  • Cheer on your best friend landing his dream internship
  • Fist-pump your sister’s award
  • High five your brother’s very good grade

Cheering for the people you love will help you get comfortable celebrating others.

Once you’re comfortable celebrating the success of the people you like, you can follow these 3 steps to cheer for people you don’t like:

  1. Ask yourself: How can someone else’s success benefit you? Write down at least 3 benefits.
  2. Think about how you will participate in celebrating their success, whether it’s commenting on LinkedIn, writing an email, text, or card, or even sending a small gift.
  3. Become active and do it.

Fake it till you make it

If you’re having difficulty genuinely cheering for another person, fake it.

Make a conscious effort to celebrate the next time someone announces good news. If you don’t feel it sincerely, do it anyway. Congratulate and recognize their efforts. Someone trying to provoke you or rub their news in your face? Celebrate them anyway.

All the best to you and yours,


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