No person is fundamentally better than another person. We are all of equal value and worth. It is truly not how good we are, how smart we are, how much money we make, how big the home we live in, or the people we know that make us worthy. Our worth and value are intrinsic to being human. The circumstances of life and how society has organised itself means that some people have more than others in all areas of life. In some cases, this can be attributed to hard work or a particular talent but in all honesty, there is a good amount of serendipity that creates the circumstances of our life. Being in the right place at the right time with the right resources. We should not negatively judge ourselves if we have not often found ourselves in the right situation. Sometimes we make choices out of love for our families that changes our exposure to certain opportunities. Society places value on many things that are not important. Most of these things are scattered to the wind when we die. You are valuable and important just as you are with no conditions or exceptions.
Envy or jealousy places our self-worth into the hands of others. Luck, opportunity, and circumstance fuel so much of our experience. Certainly, people work hard and achieve great things but the circumstances that make being able to focus on hard work possible are mostly defined by our economic and social opportunities. There are families that have to deal with poverty, serious illness, or disability. They strive to make the best of a difficult situation but there is no doubt that having to deal with difficulties that are mainly outside your control can hamper your efforts to make progress. You have to work much harder in this kind of situation just to even get to the starting line. A person in this position is not any less worthy of success and happiness than those who appear to be better off. Our value is not determined by our wealth or success as perceived by others. Some who get themselves into trouble through their choices and behaviour sadly don’t understand or honour the fact that their existence is precious and valuable. They have not had the opportunity to learn this fact through their experience in life. However, the truth is that everyone is equally worthy of a good and happy life. The fact that we have difficulties does not make us less worthy. We should not give up trying to find what will make us fulfilled and happy even in the face of difficulty. Difficulty can be a good motivator to find something better.
We can find ourselves envious of not only material possessions but also of health, beauty, time, intelligence, and so many other things that differentiate one person from another. We experience envy because there is a natural tendency to look outside ourselves for approval and compare ourselves to others. But the problem with doing this is that it creates an unhealthy focus on other people. We need to learn to nurture ourselves by looking only to ourselves for approval. What does success mean to me? What is healthy for me? How can I look more beautiful? How can I make more time for things that are important to me? What can I do to improve my intellectual capability? Instead of comparing ourselves to others to gain self-worth, shift the focus to compare yourself with yourself! It sounds a bit ridiculous but this is exactly how to find peace and happiness.
Radical self-acceptance of who you are gives you the confidence to honestly look at yourself and figure out how to make yourself healthier and happier. Do not compare yourself to others particularly those with extraordinary resources at their disposal to create and portray a life in the extreme. Search your heart for what you actually need to be happy and fulfilled even if you have no idea what that looks like right now. Take time to notice the moments and things that fill you with joy and contentment. Find a way to bring more of this joy into your life and never stop looking and being aware of anything new that unexpectedly brings you peace or joy especially if this also involves helping others to do the same. Like sewing a quilt, take all these discrete pieces and form them into a life you love to live and that brings your joy to others.
When you find yourself feeling envious of others, take a moment to choose silence and reconnect with your own inner understanding of what you need to be happy. Take care of yourself by listening to and heeding your inner voice and instincts.
One book that has been influential in my journey is “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It helped me to understand detachment and how to focus what is truly important in life by removing some of the unhelpful noise from my mind. I found it difficult to read because of its meditative nature and recommend listening to the audiobook while reading the printed text to help the mind more easily focus on the concepts presented.