Compersion Is Not A System Override (Poly Is Not, Part XX)

Compersion Is Not A System Override (Poly Is Not, Part XX)

I wrote about compersion in this piece: Poly Is Not Compersion, and it resonated with a lot of folk.

I mentioned in that piece that compersion is not an antidote for jealousy.

It’s not.

Compersion is not a system override for other feelings.

Most people I know are perfectly capable of feeling joy in another’s happiness (compersion) and ALSO feeling jealousy or fear or a sick dread or anger or upset or depression.

Humans are complex creatures.

We are not one thing or another.

We are not 100% good at any given time or 100% bad.

We can have uncharitable thoughts, even when we are ecstatic for each other.

“Good for him, he’s put in a lot of work and looks great.”


“Why is it so easy for him to drop weight? It’s so difficult for me, no matter how hard I try!”

“I’m thrilled she got that raise, she really deserves it.”


“I feel like I’m never given as much positive feedback as she is, and I work just as hard.”

“They are really in love and happy, I’m so glad they are getting to experience this wonderful thing.”


“I’m seeing them less and less, and it hurts me.”

People talk about compersion like it’s the be-all-end-all of emotions. Once you push it, it restarts your emotional hard drive with only positive things: chirping songbirds with ribbons, unicorns farting glitter, and chipmunks dancing with hearts.

(Or, yannow, whatever your personal vision of all-positive-happiness is.)

I’ve NEVER experienced it that way.

So, if you don’t, know you’re not alone, no matter how anyone makes it seem on the internet.

Of course if you do experience compersion that way, I’m thrilled for you. Compersive, even.

And also a bit envious.

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