October 29     

Today's quotation:

Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self-worth.  Each of us has something to give that no one else has.

Elizabeth O'Connor

Today's Meditation:

We would never envy another person if we were completely in tune with ourselves and who we are.  We are all unique individuals, yet we tend to see ourselves as less than that, and we tend to think that others have things much better than we do.  Of course, that's not a truth, but a deception.  When we do accept ourselves and appreciate all our gifts, then we can see others and what we do accurately-- not as some sort of judgment on who we are or what we do.

Envy really is a symptom.  It shows us that something is lacking in our lives, and it's usually not the object that we're envying.  If I envy my neighbor because of his or her new car, then I'm probably feeling bad about my own inability to afford such a vehicle.  My issue is with my ability to buy what I want rather than the vehicle itself.  If I envy someone because of their ability to write, then I'm not satisfied with my own ability to work with numbers or to use my other gifts.

Of course, there's envy, and then there's envy.  Personally, I could say that I do envy others their ability to draw or to paint, but that's not an envy that consumes me-- it's simply an "I would love to be able to do that" feeling, not a "My life is so unsatisfying because I can't do that" feeling.  I often tell people that I envy them for their abilities, but only in the sense that it would be cool to be able to do what they do, not in the sense that I would change the way I am in order to be able to do it.

I appreciate my own gifts, and I do what I can to develop them and practice them and use them.  Other people have other gifts, and I'm not going to waste any time wishing that their gifts were mine-- mine are enough as they are.  Envy can be a terrible burden to carry around, and life is far too short to spend it with burdens.  Let's carry around our gifts and share them with others instead of carrying burdens and hoping that others will help us to bear them.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people envy others?  Does it help anything in their lives?

How might we learn to appreciate all that we have and all that we are?  Would we envy others if we could do so?

What kinds of gifts do you have that others might envy if they knew you had them?

For further thought:

Believe all the good you can of everyone.  Do not measure others by yourself.  If they have advantages which you have not, let your liberality keep pace with their good fortune.  Envy no one, and you need envy no one.

William Hazlitt

more thoughts and ideas on envy



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