Goethe warned that although, “hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate”.
Aeschylus said, “it is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered”.
I just read both of these quotes in an article written by Rabbi Jonathan Sachs regarding envy.
I was having lunch with a dear friend yesterday, and he said that ‘the media and social media specifically has trained us to see people as good and bad, when in truth, all of us are good and bad, there is no human who is free of sin, and there is no human who doesn’t make mistakes’.
Envy very often is the source of a great deal of pain, and envy is also a huge liar– as it only shows us the greener grass and doesn’t show us the pain. The crazy part is that even when we see the negative outcome, we tell ourselves that we can do it differently, that it won’t happen to us, etc.
A prime example of this is extreme excess of anything material. We are aware of the negative impact extreme excess causes in so many people’s lives, and we are also intellectually aware that it doesn’t bring happiness, yet we still think that for some reason, “if I only had this or that, then I would finally be happy”.
Truth be told, you have something no one else has, and that is you. However, it takes work to hone that diamond that is you, and it’s much easier to play the victim than to be the victor; it’s far less demanding to not live up to your ability, and to think that something external will bring you happiness.
How do you deal with envy in your life? How do you remind yourself that you have everything you need to accomplish your goals? Furthermore, how do you remain positive when the chips are down and failure just isn’t an option?
The truth is: we all experience pain. No matter who you are, there is someone that has what you don’t– both positive and negative.
In my weak moments I tend to lament what I don’t have, and I forget about all of the amazing gifts I possess. Additionally, I so often look at the big things that I’m missing, only to recognize as I get older that it’s the small gifts that truly hold huge value.
This week, let’s find the good in our lives. Let’s focus internally, and let’s seek to make our lives and those around us better and more full. Let’s be the victor in our own personal story, and work on honing the diamond that is each and every one of us.
Accountability, Community, Unconditional Love
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