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Why be Envious?

Envy, by Craig Loftus

From Merriam-Webster:
envy: painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage

Why is enviousness a common feeling for many of us?

Why do we envy someone else’s success, good fortune, wealth, or opportunities?

Do we envy someone but secretly say we don’t?

When I was little, my mother always told me that it wasn’t a good idea to compare myself to others, because some people will be able to do, have, and be more than me, and some people will do, have, and be less than me. She said there’s always some people who are “above” and some who are “below”, in any situation, so it’s best to not make comparisons.

As I’ve met more and more people, from varying different backgrounds, cities, and countries, I believe this even more: it’s futile to come up with a comparison between your unique situation and someone else’s.

  • Someone may have a lifestyle that you completely envy, but there might be some hidden issue that you don’t see, that could be the biggest area of concern and challenge for that person.
     
  • Someone may envy you for your lifestyle, when you never wanted anyone to have feelings one way or another about your day-to-day reality.
     
  • Someone may envy your possessions, relationships, house, car, jewelry, job, or family situation, or you may envy someone else's situation.

Consider the following when feelings of anxiety, insecurity, or low self-esteem come up: each of us is a unique, gifted individual, with every right to be here, participating in life on the planet.

Each of us has our own talents, skills, and knowledge. Our experience is completely original and unique to our own lives: there is only one of you in the world at this time — and your life is a gift to you and to those around you.

When we think of our lives in term of that gift (the “present”), we let fall some of the pettiness, minor feelings of discomfort, and vague, misplaced anxiety that comes with enviousness.

When we develop an indwelling sense of peace, unity, gratitude and belief in something “Greater”, we think about our lives in the context of our own personal mission, including what we are meant to achieve during our time here— and the comparison between our current situation and others’ current situations stops being a primary reference point.

 

 

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigloftus/2344035194/in/photostream/

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