From the day of our birth, we are trying things out, gathering experiences, sorting things we like (ice cream!) from things we don’t (black pepper), doing our best to move toward ever-greater wellbeing. Learning from experience can be painful, but important. A shortcut? Becoming aware of what others have done before can move us forward more effectively. I will be sharing some of the things I’ve learned along the way; I hope this will “grease the skids” for you, and I encourage you to send me your questions and comments.
Envy, self-pity, feeling sorry for myself, resenting the good fortune of others, wondering why it isn’t my turn yet… This doesn’t seem like the pattern of a very high-functioning adult, and yet I have done battle with envy many times in recent years. I have even envied the characters in a movie I was watching. But finally, quite recently, I found a solution. I acknowledge that the envy-emotion is helping me to see clearly what I want in life, and then I tell myself “I’m going to have that!” The next step is to start feeling happy and excited about that wonderful thing or experience that’s going to land in my life. I don’t need to know when or how; I just know that it’s coming. Why does this work? We really only have the present moment anyway, so anything that changes my present moment into a feel-good moment is a way of taking care of myself. I’m creating a happy life, one moment at a time, whether or not that longed-for thing has arrived.
Another antidote for envy is gratitude, of course. On any day, in any situation, we can choose to turn our attention to all the things we have that are going well. One of my favorites is toilet paper. So simple, so unimportant–until there is none available. (Sometimes we need the contrast to help us really notice.) What are three things you have and appreciate? Who are three people you enjoy? What fun foods have you tasted recently?
It may feel like trying to steer the Titanic, trying to steer our busy minds from a place of envy to a place of calm anticipation, but it feels so much better, and it gets easier with practice. Have fun with it, and let me know what you discover.