I’ll get straight to the point of this post: JEALOUSY IS TOXIC. As someone who has been on both sides of Envy Street, I can say with confidence, nothing good will ever come from jealousy. No one benefits. On the contrary, everyone involved suffers, and here’s why:
First, jealousy is based on our misguided perceptions of others compounded by our own insecurities. Everyone, and I mean everyone, no matter how perfect he/she seems, is struggling with some kind of personal battle. All we see is his/her end state compared to ours: he gets better grades; she makes more money; he drives a nicer car; she has prettier hair; he’s more creative, etc. What we fail to see is the behind-the-scene sacrifices that were made to achieve these desirable traits. Perhaps the girl with the perfect grades is under crushing pressure from her parents and frequently pulls all-nighters to study. Perhaps the man making six figures with the seemingly perfect family never sees his kids or wife because he is putting in 80+ hours a week and is always on the road. That beautiful girl with the gorgeous body, maybe hasn’t had a real meal in weeks. You get the picture. I don’t mean to insinuate that everyone is who has achieved something is miserable, just warning not to be fooled by appearances, as what we see is rarely how things actually are. So, ask yourself, is your jealousy really even founded?
Second, there is a very good chance that you are the object of someone else’s jealousy. Whoa! While you are wasting your energy feeling covetous of others, there is probably someone else feeling envious of you. We work so hard to construct this perfect persona to the outside world, especially in the age of social media. I bet there is someone who wishes he/she had your life, or some part of it, and I also bet that you would never consider your life perfect. That idyllic picture of your family on a Caribbean beach belies the day-to-day struggles we ALL face. We all lose it at times and yell at our kids. We’ve all gone through periods of sadness or depression. We’ve all gone through periods where we eat or drink too much and don’t exercise. We’ve all had bad hair days! It doesn’t mean we are not happy and/or possess desirable traits, it just means we are human. We’re all beautifully flawed humans, so jealousy is really a waste of time.
And finally, the third and probably most important reason why this whole jealousy thing is really silly: we can NEVER be anyone but ourselves! EVER. Each and every one of us is built from a different story; each and every one of us comes from a unique set of experiences; each and every one of us has a unique physical make-up determined by our DNA and environment, and each and every one of us has a unique spirit built over lifetimes of earnest living. No amount of wishing or projecting is going to change us into anyone but ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, people can change, and we absolutely do with every experience we have. We are constantly learning, growing and assimilating the knowledge we have gained into a more mature version of ourselves. However, what won’t change is what brought us to this present moment, our blueprint, if you will. Diversity is what defines the human race, and what a fabulous thing it is! Without it, we would be swimming in a sea of sameness, an army of clones, a race of robots!
At the crux, jealousy toward others is really just a reflection of our own insecurities. We set such high personal expectations and when we see others succeeding where maybe we are not, we get mad at ourselves and project this anger onto those doing well. It’s so much easier to hate others than to take responsibility for our own shortcomings (as we perceive them). I don’t think I need to point out how obviously unproductive and harmful this is for all involved. So, here is my suggestion: don’t waste your energy on envy. Don’t dishonor yourself with comparisons. Instead, use the successes of others as motivation to be the best person you can be. If you want better grades, study. If you want to get in better shape, log the miles. Most importantly, focus your time and energy on being YOU and offering the world your own unique story instead of disparaging others. You have unique strengths. Your friend/neighbor/coworker has unique strengths. Let them all shine! The world will be a brighter place for it.