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I am happy for you.

Powerful words, right?

And my two favorite variations:

I am so pleased for you (a bit more cautious).

I am thrilled for you (yes, over the top).

When something good happens to a colleague or a friend, we tend so say Congratulations. We may even send a congratulatory note.

Nice.

But I am happy for you elevates the well-wishing. It puts ME into the congratulatory expression. And it gives the other person the gift of MY supportive emotion.

An instant relationship enhancer.

I used to not say I am happy for you because I didn’t know how to be truly happy for you.

And I didn’t know how to say it.

Sad, yes. I think of this as I dine with my friend Raul Rodriguez. While we gorge on heaps of tantalizing sushi, our conversation takes us on a trip down memory lane, to a time when we both lived in the same cities but our paths had not yet crossed. It is one of those delicious conversations in which one discovers new things about a friend.

And new things about oneself.

I used to not know how to say it. And I couldn’t say it because I didn’t feel it.

When I feel happy for you I, of course, feel happy for myself.

My friend and former neighbor, Emunah Herzog, left Hollywood for marriage and a quieter life in West Virginia. During a phone call we catch up on all that has happened in our lives over the span of two years.

It has been a good ride in my neck of the woods.

I am so happy for you, Emunah says.

Sweet.

My business relationships are so much better now than they were back then. I have learned to be happy for others. And the happiness is expressed.

The path is simple.

  • Shift out of neutral.
  • Take an emotional risk.
  • To take the risk, you gotta feel it first.
  • Because fake-happy doesn’t work.

Congratulations is nice. And it is neutral.

Shift to the happy-for-others place. Feel it. Say it.

I am happy for you.

Experience the impact of supportive emotional language.

Reap the rewards of heartfelt good will.