Evolution of Envy

Everyone gets envious.  It’s not a good feeling to have, but it happens.  I’ve definitely had my fair share of envious feelings.  But I haven’t always been envious of the same things.

I don’t really remember feeling truly envious of anyone until middle school, when all of my friends suddenly looked like women and I didn’t.  I’ve mentioned here before, I believe, about how ugly I felt a lot of the time.  To me, it seemed that everyone else was becoming effortlessly beautiful, while I was stuck with frizzy hair and acne.  It was hard to feel not-pretty.  I felt undesirable, and that was something I really wanted.

Growing up helped, of course.  I wasn’t an awkward teenager forever.  I learned how to at least control my hair, and I learned how to wear a little makeup, which really helped my self-esteem.  And it didn’t hurt that I did well in school and other activities.  And then, once I graduated high school and started college, freshman year did absolute wonders for my confidence and self-esteem.  I met friends who liked me and continued to like me even when we had disagreements, and I met the man who is now my fiance.  Freshman year was a dream come true for high school me, and I was really lucky to have that.

But that didn’t mean envy went away completely.  Instead, the things I was envious for changed.  At first, I was envious of those who could speak Spanish better than I could.  I had had Spanish classes before college, but I felt a little behind during those first couple years.  There was always something I missed in class because I couldn’t understand, or someone who could figure out how to say what I wanted to say faster.  That, though, I overcame as I learned more.  I still wish I spoke and understood Spanish better than I do, but I have achieved my goal of being able to communicate in another language, so that envy has largely been alleviated too.

After that, I became envious of students who knew exactly what they wanted to do.  I was surrounded by a lot of highly driven people, who were good at what they did, who were involved and held high positions in campus organizations, who got great internships, and who had job offers before they even graduated.  I didn’t want to do all the things they did, but I wanted that drive, that passion, that talent.  I got a little lost senior year, trying to find a job, and realizing how little experience and knowledge I had.  I had a plan, but not a very concrete one, and the people I saw did have that.

Now, I’ve been graduated for a month, have just started a new job, and am still fighting envy.  Social media is a cruel invention, because I see people I haven’t seen since high school also graduating, getting their dream jobs, and basically just being beautiful people in a beautiful world.

I’m not trying to sound ungrateful, because most of the time, I really am.  I just graduated with no debt, am living with my best friend in a house that we can afford to rent because we both have fairly well-paying jobs, and I’m getting married in four months.  I am happy with my life, and I’m excited for the future.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have those moments of oh, why can’t my life be like that?  (Even while I know social media doesn’t paint a full picture.)

I have to remind myself often that everyone is different, and just because someone looks like they are doing better than me doesn’t mean that my life sucks.  I’m working on striving for bigger and better things while at the same time being grateful for and happy in the life I have now.

The things we are envious of change as we get older, but it never goes away.  Do you get envious of people’s jobs or homes or lives?  What do you do to alleviate envy??

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2 thoughts on “Evolution of Envy

  1. The grass will always be greener on the other side I guess- rather than envy, I find myself feeling frustrated at things that people have done that I didn’t, and beat myself up sometimes for not taking advantage of oppurtunities like they have. But sometimes looking back on how things have worked out for you can help you realise that maybe you were happier off than if you’d gotten what you thought you wanted, like a more demanding prestigious academic course or what you thought would be the best school for you. (Incidentally I saw your MBTI type at the sidebar – I’m an ENFP! So I guess that makes us opposites :D )

  2. Very well said, everyone has struggled with varying levels of envy, and i believe the best way to alleviate the feelings of want is to replace it with feelings of appreciation. It might sound cliche, but gratitude to yourself and to the world in general, has helped me feel overwhelming amounts of contentment from what I have.

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