We’ve all have felt the emotion of envy before. It’s one the most unless of human emotion I believe, yet we all fall prey to it from time to time, some more than others. I try my best not to feel envy, as I’ve learned all too well that the grass is not always greener on someone else’s lawn.
Through my many experiences in life (in spite being a hermit, I do and had met many people in my lifetime), I have learned that EVERYONE has problems and their life isn’t always rainbows and sunshine. The easy example would be the rich and famous celebrities who fall into deep depression or slip into career shattering drug addictions.
I was twelve years old, the first time I heard about a celebrity falling into an addiction and ruining their career. My ignorant reaction to it was, “Why? They’re so pretty, they’re rich, they have a fun career, and the world loves them! Why would they want to take drugs and screw all of that up?!” O_o
It completely boggled my mind that celebrities are human too and just like that old REM song, “everybody hurts sometimes”. My adolescent mind couldn’t understand that having all of the fame, good looks, talent, and money in the world doesn’t add up to perfect happiness whatsoever. So I judged that celebrity as “stupid” and unworthy of the things they’ve earned, as I was completely envious. I believed that I deserved those things of that celebrity more so, because I wouldn’t screw it up if I had possession of such gifts. Ah… youth. ;^_^>
It wasn’t until I reached age sixteen and spoke with other people, observed and listen to (sometimes eavesdropped… *cough*) the plights of those around me who I had perceived as “better off”, that I had realized that everyone in the world is seeking happiness and that there is no one magical thing one must do to achieve it..
In other words, I realized that what I often envied for myself was not the magical “pill” to fix the sadness within my life. Even though I had realized at age sixteen that money wouldn’t cure everything, I still struggled with envying things I’ve seen others with.
I’d made the mistake, as many do, in believing that if I had that “one special person” in my life, I could break free of my loneliness and depression, that everything in my life would connect and I’d never be sad again. So I pursued a series of abusive relationships, settling for anyone who would have me, in order to make my life happy and to have that “love story” that I perceived everyone else around me had.
By the time I was age twenty-four, I realized that even in the best of relationships, couples have their ups and downs. The happiest couples in the world have their bad days, arguments, and disagreements. A good and safe relationship is nice, especially for the companionship, but it’s not the answer to cure ills or inner demons. Even the best couples have their issues and problems, either together or separately, life doesn’t become “fixed” without stuggles just because one chooses a relationship.
I let go of my excessive dating, allowing myself to be single, and to not rush into any more fast relationships. I began gaining “standards” and I refuse to settle for less than what I feel that I deserve.
At age twenty six, my next mistake was to become envious of people who had LOTS of friends, so I pursued trying to make as many friends as I could, changing myself to “fit in” or tried to. The more clever of the bunch quickly realized that I was a farce, that I was pretending to be someone whom I wasn’t, in order to appear favorable in their eyes. They silently distanced themselves from me right away.
The ones who didn’t catch on to my farce only loved the persona that I pretended to be and not really ME, which hurt worse than being alone. The handful who knew that I was trying too hard to be liked and accepted took advantage and used my willingness to please them to an abusive extreme.
Finally, at age twenty-seven, I decided to just be myself and I started all over with honest friendships and connections. I also learned that it was never the quantity of friends that mattered, but the quality. I prefer to have a few GOOD friends these days and not a crowd.
I had made many other mistakes in envying what others had: their successes, their social circles, their opportunities, their beauty, their charismatic personalities, their level of intelligence, etc. Somehow I believed that everyone’s lawn was greener, that everyone had more than I did, and I began to take for granted what I did have.
Then I began to lose family members and parts of my eyesight. I was age twenty-nine when I finally stopped looking at what everyone else had and began to really appreciate what I’ve got. I stopped flooding my thoughts with envy and I realized that even if I had everything that the people around me had, I would still be unhappy.
That’s because, happiness doesn’t come from things or outside of ourselves. True happiness comes from within. It may sound a lot cliche, but I find it to be the truth for me.
I had SO many inner demons and troubles that I was hording within, that even if I did meet the most wonderful romantic partner, gained a huge wonderful career, or was surrounded by many friends, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them nor keep them. My inner demons would have dragged it all down with me, into the deeper depths of darkness and despair… not unlike a panicked drowning person who pulls a great swimmer with them under the waves.
I realized that I needed to unshackle many of the “weights” pulling me down inside, before I could ever reach out to be with another person. I had to find the happiness within me first! So, I took a long pause and worked on myself and my issues. They’re not all solved, but many of those weights are gone, and while I was exorcising my inner demons I didn’t have time for envy.
I learned to appreciate what I DO have and the people in my life now, as I realized that life is SO very short. I make sure to let my loved ones know how much I do love and appreciate them, while they’re still alive and not wait to say so at a funeral.
I’m sure that envy may raise its ugly head someday, but I’m hopeful that I’ll not entertain it and I will take up my sword to behead it. Envy is useless and it has no place in my journey towards happiness. ^_^
Thanks for reading!