I need a word that describes the opposite of envy in this situation. Example: If a mother sees another mom with a child who is well-behaved and makes good grades that mother might be envious, wishing she had a child like that. The word I'm looking for should describe the opposite of that in this example: A mother sees another mother with a child who has Autism or is handicapped and that mother is glad that she doesn't have a child like that. Someone has already suggested the word content but that doesn't really work here.
closed as too broad by Edwin Ashworth, anongoodnurse, Zibbobz, tchrist♦, Ellie Kesselman Mar 4 '15 at 23:40
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There are many words to describe this. Here are a few:
I admit this is far removed from the example in your question but in polyamourous communities they refer to the opposite of envy/jealousy as:
1)The feeling of joy one has experiencing another's joy, such as in witnessing a toddler's joy and feeling joy in response.
2)The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.
In my experience it tends to be used more in the second sexual context so maybe not useful to you.
What you describe sounds like schadenfreude: “pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others”
The mother in your example doesn’t pity the other mother, she doesn’t empathize, and she’s not content. She gets a pleasure (possibly guilty) out of the fact that someone has it worse than she.
I don’t think most people would consider this the opposite of envy, but I think envy has too many component parts to have a perfect opposite.
Though this is a single-word request, comments from OP have led me to think that combining this word with another suggestion might be best. I present: “smug schadenfreude” (examples).
If you really want to say that a person is in a situation that another would not envy, the word that best suits the situation would be unenviable, though you would have to use it in a different way.
d: very bad or unpleasant
I was given the unenviable task of cleaning the toilets.
He found himself in the unenviable position of having to admit he'd lied
I think you'd be better off with something like unselfishness, selflessness, or even altruism.
Depending on how strong the emotion is "proud" can be the opposite of envy. Though in your example"satisfied" || "fulfilled" || "contented" seems appropriate.
The word that seems most appropriate to your example is smug.
If you wish another person's ____ was yours, you feel envy.
If you're glad another person's ____ is not yours, you feel pity.