I recently heard the remark in regards to posts on social media, “one person’s happiness is another’s jealousy.” I was struck by two thoughts:
First, how true is this! There have certainly been times when, upon seeing or reading about other’s achievements or accolades, rather than rejoicing with them, I was simply reminded of my failures and shortcomings.
And second, I was reminded of CS Lewis’ insight regarding things which we enjoy in his Reflections on the Psalms:
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.
Let me share a story to unpack what I see in this insight from Lewis. I was recently watching the soccer (football) match between Liverpool and Bayern Munich. I am supporter of Liverpool, and try to take opportunities to watch the matches in the company of fellow supporters. In this case, I was watching the match by myself. This was the second of two legs between these teams, the outcome of this match determined who would progress to the quarterfinals. In any case, it was a very intense match, but in the end, Liverpool managed to eke out the win, much to my joy.
Now, at each of the goals, and in the final celebration of the win, I was exuberant. It was indeed a bit strange to find myself cheering in a room by myself as players thousands of miles away kicked a ball around a patch of grass. Nevertheless, as I celebrated, my one inclination was to share this joy with someone else - to text or call someone, to celebrate with someone, to find another supporter with whom I could share this enjoyment.
I apologize for the silly example, but I think that it gets to the image that Lewis is suggesting: when we have something that we enjoy, the consummation, not merely the expression or even the amplification, of the enjoyment is found in sharing it with others.
So, assuming that Lewis is right in this, my thoughts return to the initial comment regarding social media that “one person’s happiness is another’s jealousy.”
In no particular order, here are a number of questions that occurred to me in light of these reflections:
- Is social media the appropriate platform through which to share our accomplishments or achievements or are we simply contributing to other’s discontentment?
- In sharing the object of our enjoyment via a social media platform, is even possible for that to be a legitimate consummation of that enjoyment, as Lewis suggests, or does it require more physical company and fellowship?
- As we engage with others on social media, how can we train our hearts and minds to properly respond to expressions of enjoyment with reciprocal delight rather than jealousy?
I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these ideas, or if you have more questions that come to mind, I would love to ponder those as well! May God give all of us more wisdom and a greater ability to love!