Thoughts on compersion

As you might have seen in my recent article with definitions of common polyamorous terms, compersion is the beautiful feeling one experiences when someone they care about is happy. It is often described as the opposite emotion to jealousy. There are two examples which are often used to describe the feeling to those who have not experienced it in a polyamorous sense. Those two examples are: being happy for your partner when they get a promotion at work, and the feeling you get when your child gets a good grade, or gets picked for a position in a sports 1team/band/play etc.

While they give the general idea of compersion, they are not perfect examples. In both of these situations, one might find themselves feeling happy, not for their loved one, but for themselves. “My kid got a good grade, I can brag about this to my friends!” or “this promotion will mean extra money for us/me!” Most people, myself included, will have been guilty of receiving someone else’s good news and been happy for themselves. It doesn’t make us awful people, it just makes us people. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

Here is another analogy I came up with. You might switch on the news one day and hear about a mother whose child was cured of a life-threatening illness. That mother’s experience doesn’t have any positive consequences on you or anyone you know, yet you still feel relief and happiness.

Maybe this example is a little serious for the lighthearted, fluffy emotion that is compersion. But I feel like I needed to make a more concrete example that separates feelings of being happy for yourself from feelings of being happy for other people.

All that said, I think it’s just one of those things you need to experience for yourself to understand the true gravity of it. In short, it’s a wonderful feeling!

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