A friend of mine told this story recently: “I was living in San Francisco which has a large population of homeless and poor. Each day it was painful to notice the contrast between the beautifully dressed, seemingly self-confident people, and the poor who shared the streets with them.”
“One day I realized I could empathize with how those homeless people felt. I’d lived my whole life feeling I didn’t belong, with no family I could turn to, and not knowing if I would survive another day in my misery. The compassion I felt was a reminder to me not to form my opinions about people by how they look. It doesn’t matter what people think they see in me, or anyone else. Each one of us is wounded. It’s just that some wounds are on the inside instead of the outside.”
We are all in this world together and for a purpose, no matter what the circumstances of our life.
- The Street-Level Solution (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Homelessness kills, but we can save lives (sfgate.com)
- Living Without a Home (socyberty.com)
“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.