I sometimes struggle with envy. Let me try that again. I struggle with envy every day.
- Envy happens when I look at Instagram and see someone else’s life filtered by Earlybird or Walden.
- I envy when I see someone’s car that doesn’t have carseats in it.
- I envy when I see how many more followers someone has on Twitter.
- I envy when I hear about someone who published their book.
- I envy when I’m talking to friends I love or strangers I was moments before completely indifferent to.
What complicates envy
Add to the struggle the difficulty of distinguishing between envy, admiration and a healthy dissatisfaction. A wiser and happier friend of mine recently told me that being unsatisfied isn’t a feeling we should suppress. It’s healthy to want more for our children (and I’m not just talking about material things). It’s healthy to want the kind of business you dream of. It’s healthy to want a deeper relationship with the God who created you. It’s what we use to measure our dissatisfaction that matters. (tweet that)
Envy is usually selfish
Does my discontentment come from a place of knowing I’m capable of working harder and achieving more for my family? That’s healthy. Am I dissatisfied because I want what someone else has? That’s envy. I don’t envy everyone that is rich. I know lots of miserable rich people. I don’t envy everyone that has freedom. Unemployed people have a lot of freedom.
My favorite people to envy
I envy people like me. They look like me, they talk like me and I usually know them as a friend. I envy friends that have achieved more. They remind me of what I am capable of and that I have yet to achieve. (Tweet that)
To end envy I’m going to focus on what I need to do today. Simple right? Focus on what I need to get done today to get one step closer to being the person I am capable of being. We have no control over someone else’s story and we certainly don’t know the extent of the twists and turn that make up their life so envying the end result is simply a waste of time and energy. To end the envy of others we must take responsibility for ourselves. (Tweet that) The same energy I use to envy others can be used to achieve my own dreams and calling. Envy may never go away for me but the next time I envy the Instagram picture of a sunrise with a Nashville filter I’m going to ask myself this question, “What can I do right to get closer to achieving the life I want?” Then I’m going to do that thing.
The answer to ending our envy of other’s achievements is to take our own actions.