There is something wrong with being proud of other people’s achievements. It seems people always find a way to feel the joy of success if they cannot themselves achieve their own significant goals. This is a global phenomenon, and it has many distinct types.
For instance, the supporters of a soccer team are not only happy to see their team win but they also are proud. They will insult the supporters of another team and gloat about “their success”. While the supporters usually persevere with the same team for their entire lives, ironically the players regularly switch teams for higher pay, better contracts, etc. Winning a soccer championship can be a challenging task. It requires a large team of players to be in top physical and mental condition while playing in perfect harmony. There is a lot to be proud of when a team beats all their opponents and wins the ultimate prize. It is natural to be proud for the players of the winning team. What is almost comical is that the supporters also feel proud, while it is a well-known fact that many players who spend most of their time on the bench sometimes find it difficult to celebrate because they are doubtful about their contributions. In stark contrast to this, the supporters never feel the need to question their contributions.
Pride in other people’s success is obviously not confined to sports. Some people will be proud of their relatives, children, parents, etc. Admittedly, in some of these cases people may have some level of contribution to the success of the other person but in most cases, this is not true. When a child is doing extremely well in school parents feel proud, and nobody questions whether this is a reasonable feeling. If a parent has contributed to the success of their child, it is not a good sign anyway. In this context, pride should not be confused with being happy for somebody. One can feel happy for someone else, and this does not directly imply pride.
Perhaps, the most dangerous type of pride is intricately mixed with false ideologies such as nationalism and racism. A racist person will list achievements of other people who share a closer anthropological relationship to them and use these achievements to justify their superiority. It is no surprise that most people who demonstrate this kind of behavior are not successful in life. Interestingly, people do not use racism to ever argue that their own race is inferior. The stupidity of racism requires an article of its own.
Nationalism is yet another form of delusional success for unsuccessful people. If you have no formal education in physics and want to feel like somehow you have some success in this field as well, all you need to do is search for the names of prominent physicists who are from the same country as you. Unbelievably, simply by researching this information people will feel proud. Even if they had never heard of the said physicists before. If an Olympic swimmer wins a medal for a nation, people will be quick to feel proud. However, if they were asked to donate the change in their pockets to the said athlete just a month prior to their success, they would most probably refuse it.
The last and most idiotic side effect of pride in other people’s success is the feeling of failure that follows in case the success does not happen. As if people do not have any failures in their lives already, they will feel the failure of their imaginary selves as well. To feel pride, one must empathize with the other person to a great extent. This leaves the former to risk feeling sadness of failure even though they are not the ones who failed.
A better way of handling other people’s success and failure is to maintain a healthy level of connection to reality. People have been facing failure and success regularly. One must focus on their own failures to learn lessons and their own success to guide and motivate themselves into the future.