By Amanda Richardson
The green-eyed monster lives among us. It can be there as we read magazine and newspaper articles, meet with colleagues and friends, or scroll through social media. It can snuggle up against us with all its hateful warmth, frowning at the confident, scouring at the beautiful, and spitting at all the success stories. It can make our blood boil and sadness bubble to the surface.
Why them and not me? it utters.
The words echo in our ear like an incessant drumbeat.
Why not me?
Why never me?
We can be left feeling dejected and stuck, a vicious cycle that repeats itself, leading us to question our choices, abilities, and intellect. Not to mention how it turns us against us – that we could be such a bad friend, unsupportive colleague, or just general assh*le.
You may only be touched in passing, but we can all be connected by at least a thread of this basic human emotion. Self-help books tell you to let envy go, to push it aside, to give it a swift kick to the curb. But envy may not be so eager to leave.
So what are we to do?
We turn it on its head. Instead of feeling the prick of its pointed, ugly side – the side focusing on what others have and we don’t – we need to recognize the jewel in what it’s found. The beauty that stops us in our tracks, the talents that we are lucky enough to witness, the stories that serve as an inspiration.
At the core of every envious emotion is a wonderful find – a light, a splendor, an ascendance. We’re often so focused on wanting what others have that we forget how much we gain from just standing in its brightness.
Particularly as I have gotten older, I have gained a great appreciation of all that the world has to offer. Sometimes this means that I might not be the one to offer it – often far from it –, and that is OK.
Because you see, aren’t I lucky? I get to watch as athletes perform feats of strength that I never thought possible. I get to be swept away by the lyrical songs of musicians, and I get to be lifted to my feet by inspirational speakers.
I get to be the one that watches the underdog soar.
I get to bask in the beauty of a flawless face. I get to admire the long lines of dancers. I get to marvel at a genius idea and have my heart roll over the words of a story well written.
Without the wins of others, we would not have the shows that entertain us, the transportation, architecture, stores, books, CDs, artwork, media programs, and technology that makes this world ours. We would not have the medical care that keeps us alive or the people to fight for our fundamental human rights.
Everyone who has produced anything of value has been envied. Someone, somewhere, has hated them for their success and prayed for them to fail.
But aren’t we glad they didn’t?
Every time you let envy take over, you take away the gifts that others give. You put negative energy out into the world. You spill hatred and scorn. Yes, it might not be you who gets the “win”. But in the end, we all benefit. If nothing else, we get to experience the happiness and wonderment of our family members, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances who have achieved something that perhaps they never thought possible. Just knowing that darkness can be overcome, that a dream can translate to reality, that we can achieve what we set out to do should be comforting to us all.
Because it gives us hope – hope for us, our children, and those around us in positions that look all too stuck, with no way out.
If envy is at your side, it means that something good has happened – maybe not directly to you, but it has happened. While your green-eyed monster may still crouch beside you with its ornery pronouncements, you can take comfort in knowing that their light will travel, changing the structure of what it touches, taking us all to a better, brighter place.
We are all connected and, in the end, we rise or fall together. It’s your choice which direction you’d like to go.
Amanda Richardson PhD MS CHWC is a health coach, speaker, writer and yogi/aerialist. She helps individuals optimize physical and emotional health, foster mindfulness, enhance relationships and get on track to a happier and more fulfilled life. For more information, visit her website at: http://wellhealthihc.com