“Envy is more implacable than hatred.” – de La Rochefoucauld
Many of us, at times, have felt envious of other people. We envy those who have what we want: more money, more self-confidence, a happy relationship, a more interesting life. We may have defined our desires according to maligned values which told us we needed more, always more.
If we look beneath our envy, what will we find? Sadness? Anger? Feelings of deprivation? These are real emotions, reflecting perhaps childhoods and present lives spent struggling with loss. No wonder we lapse into envy; it’s painful to face the magnitude of the losses we’ve endured and the needs that have gone unmet.
One way I am discovering to get beyond envy is to work toward healing the past by filling up the present. We can recognize that envy is corrosive and disrespectful. It turns people we envy into objects and separates us from them. Peace of mind comes from living in the present and being comfortable with who we are. We can’t live someone else’s life, only our own.
“Whom they have injured, they also hate.” — Seneca
When someone has something we want, we may be surprised at the depth and suddenness with which envy can overwhelm us. One moment, we’re happy; the next, we’re filled with longing. Once we become honest with ourselves and admit we feel envious, we can start to work on ridding ourselves of it. We have uncounted blessings in our lives, and if we simply take the time to count them, envy will fade from our mind as gratitude takes over.
Gratitude can help release envy especially when we share our feelings underneath the envy. Our challenge is to accept ourselves as we are and let that be enough. It is, in fact, more than enough because all that we are comes from the Universe. It’s better to keep seeing ourselves as the proverbial glass: half-full, not half-empty. We can bless and release whatever person, event, or thing that led to the envy so that we may be ourselves, whole, once again.