Oola: My Journey of Self-Discovery and Balance – June 19: Envy

Did you know that being envious can prevent you from obtaining what you want? Now, I know what some of you are thinking because I thought that, too – “Doesn’t wanting something make you work harder, so how can that stop me?” Envy isn’t just about wanting something. If it was, the word wouldn’t exist because we would call it goals. However, envy is also about feeling as though another person has some advantage over you. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t. It doesn’t matter because envy will sneak in and tell you that nothing you do will help you have what someone else has.

Let’s break this down a little more and look at it from a more concrete standpoint. If I want to get better at my craft, whether that is writing or dancing or engineering or whatever, I have to practice, and I have to learn. So, I do that; I practice with mentors and on my own, and I learn through reading and watching videos and attending classes. I improve! Then, I notice that someone else won the award that I was working so hard for. It hurts a little, but I work harder. Soon, someone else has won the award I was working so hard for, but this time it was someone with what I perceive as less experience. Now, I am starting to get a little angry because I’ve been working so hard (I think), and this person just eased on through and took my award! That’s not really what happened, but that’s how envy distorts my perception.

Do you see where this is going? Envy makes you think that no matter how hard you try, someone else will always have the advantage over you. Believing your hard work doesn’t matter leads to excuses, and we talked previously of excuses getting in the way of your dreams. Envy also makes you forget that everyone is in a different place on this journey we call life. Maybe the other person works harder, but you don’t know because you don’t see it. Maybe the other person started before you did. Either way, you really have no idea where anyone else is on their journey. All you see is where they are when they cross your path.

Now, let’s change our envious feelings into adventurous feelings. Instead of thinking about what perceived disadvantages you have, instead of comparing yourself to others, think about what is possible because everything is possible and opportunities abound when you believe in yourself. Do you want to win the award? Then don’t look around you, look within you for the strength to continue improving until you’ve reached your goal. After that, set a new goal. Don’t give up on improving yourself and your craft because you get distracted by what you don’t have. 

Here is something else to think about: While you have been envious of another, someone else has been envious of you. Shocking, I know, but it’s true. There is someone out there who wants to be as good as you are now or have what you have. And you know what else? The person you envy probably envies another as well.

So, stop thinking about what you don’t have, start thinking about what you do have, and make plans to work hard for what is possible. Your only obstacle is you.

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