Quotes for teens on life lessons

Quote for teens about happiness, joy, relationships

"Take joy in others’ joy, and you get joy to infinity.”

-- Truth Be Told Quotes

No doubt being on the receiving end of good things makes you feel like a winner. But what about when other people get something they want—a good grade, a new opportunity, praise? Does their win, by default, make you a loser? Of course not.

Someone else’s success doesn’t have to be your failure. The fact that your sister got inducted into the Bossaball Hall of Fame doesn’t have to be about you at all.

At a minimum, you’re denying yourself a lot of opportunities to share in some joy. Think about it… if you’re only happy at your own success, you only get to be joyful when you do something great. But if you share your sister’s, best friends’, colleagues’ joy when they do well, you get joy to infinity.

Activities for this quote

Teaching resources

Bring this quote into your classroom with a lesson guide and activities that are ready to use.

Quote Overview / Description

Quote about finding joy, happiness, relationships

This quote can help teens become more self aware about what influences their emotions. It’s natural to feel a pang of jealousy when someone else has a success. It’s necessary to have some healthy competition to drive people to achieve greater accomplishments. But sometimes, that jealousy or competitiveness can be unhealthy. One person's success does not have to mean someone else’s failure. And more than one person can feel joy for the same accomplishment.

Consider these scenarios:

  • A younger brother learns multiplication and is proud to tell his older sister about it. The sister snaps, “So what? I did that years ago. Do you have any idea how hard geometry is?”
  • A teen gets an A on a test that her friend struggled with. The teen who struggled is annoyed and acts coldly to her friend.

Be honest about what is influencing behavior

What is the motivation behind these reactions? Jealousy and competitiveness. By being self aware of where the reaction is coming from, teens can do a healthier job of processing their emotions and preserving their relationships. Using one’s competitiveness to push to do better next time— that’s great. Taking out your emotions on someone else— that’s not so great.

Find new sources of joy

To go a step further, by taking joy in a friend or sibling’s accomplishment for its own sake, we get extra opportunities to be happy and joyful with someone we care about. When you take joy in others’ joy, you get joy to infinity.

Celebrate each others' good traits

If you want super bonus points, consider that we each have qualities or accomplishments that are worth celebrating. It’s ok for one friend, sibling, etc. to be celebrated for some accomplishments and the other to be celebrated for others. Maybe this time it’s one person’s turn, and next time it’s someone else’s. There’s peace to be found by discovering and embracing the qualities in yourself that you want to celebrate, even though they may be different than someone you admire.

Discussion questions / Writing Prompts

Questions to prompt discussion, journaling, essays for high school health class and social emotional development lessons:

  1. Think of a time you felt upset that someone did something better than you. How did you react? Can you use your emotions in a healthy way?
  2. Think of a time you delivered news that you did something great, but instead of being happy with you, the other person was angry, dismissive, jealous, etc. How did that feel? How could the situation have been handled differently?
  3. Is there someone you are comparing yourself to? Do you feel like you have to be like them to be good enough? What are your special qualities and accomplishments that are different from them?


Activities and worksheets for teen SEL / high school health and wellness lessons:

  1. Finding Joy Journaling Page- This printable journaling page helps students see where they are comparing themselves to others, and to acknowledge their own good traits.
  2. You be You Journaling Page- Download a journaling page with writing prompts help teens to identify qualities they admire, things they like about themselves, things they'd like to improve.
  3. Week of Gratitude Worksheet- In this teen social emotional activity, students keep a journal of things they are thankful for and measure changes to happiness levels.

Coloring Pages

Download printable coloring pages for a mindfulness activity that features this quote.

  1. Classic coloring page
  2. Expanding Joy coloring page

Curriculum Topics

High School Health Class / Social Emotional Development Core Curriculum Alignment:

  • Self awareness
  • Emotions
  • Healthy family relationships
  • Recognize internal and external influences on behavior


  • When you identify your emotions and honestly evaluate what is influencing how you feel, you can process conflict in a healthier way
  • Happiness can come from many sources
  • There’s an appropriate time for competition, and an appropriate time for cooperation

Character Traits/Values

  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Honesty with self
  • Fairness
  • Caring

The quote and opening paragraph of this page are an excerpt from the Book, Truth Be Told Quotes: Teen Edition. Presented with permission from the author, Colleen Doyle Bryant. ©LoveWell Press. Find the print and ebook versions of Truth Be Told Quotes on the Shop page.

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Colleen Doyle Bryant

Colleen Doyle Bryant is the author of five books and more than 50 learning resources about making good choices for the right reasons. Her Talking with Trees series for elementary students and Truth Be Told Quotes series for teens are used in curriculums around the world. Rooted in Decency, Colleen's latest release for an adult audience, explores what happened to common decency and how we can get to a place of more cooperation and kindness. Learn more at ColleenDoyleBryant.com.

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