Schadenfreude is a German word that means “Pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune.”
When we talk about another person’s failure, oftentimes we get a small amount of pleasure out of it. It’s quite disgusting when you consider that we take joy in another’s pain. We might justify it by saying how that person deserves what they get because of how much of a jerk they are, or how that person is a hypocrite so they got what’s coming to them.
If we are getting satisfaction out of another’s pain it reveals our own brokenness.
We notice the flaws in others that we have ourselves.
When we feel satisfaction at the expense of another, it is because their failure has been exposed instead of our own.
Authentic caring for other people is when you can rejoice in their victories as well as feel their pain when they fall short- even when we genuinely dislike the other person. Everyone can show kindness to the people that are kind to them, there’s no merit in that. Those who can show kindness to the ones who don’t “deserve” it are the ones who are living well.
Next time you feel joy at anothers fall, take time to reflect and realize you just joined them in failure. Realize that you don’t have it all together either. That your “joy” is only felt because you know you deserve that failure as well.
Show empathy, and instead of kicking them while they’re down, speak some encouragement.