We all know that appearances can be deceiving, and yet we allowed ourselves to go down the comparison rabbit hole on a daily basis. We see someone in our building dressed like she is appearing on a Scandal episode, or observe with envy as a handsome couple pulls up into valet parking in a shiny new car, we take rubber-necking drives through 'the good part of town', and with imagine with great envy the lucky souls that inhabit those swimming pool-punctuated, tree-lined lanes.
But we are only fooling ourselves. Deep down, we all know the real truth. We all know that these lucky people, these shiny, happy, well-dressed and leisure-lived icons are just as uncomfortable and challenged by their human condition as the rest of us are.
No amount of money, or cars, or clothes, or pools can change the fact that we all have to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, pay our taxes (well most of us anyway), and generally trudge our way through the logistics of this life. Some of us may enjoy perks that others don't, but don't let the perks fool you into a mistaken idea that life is somehow better, or easier for those 'living the life'.
We hear this as children, as a caution against a jealous coveting of things we do not have.
Things do not make people happy. Living in relationship and connectedness with other people does.
Property and money do not make people happy. Being appreciated and valued do.
Do not let your insides be governed by someone else's outsides...do not undervalue the happiness you can find and create yourself, and attribute unattainable joy and satisfaction to the possessions of others.
We would all do well to consider how our internal lives and the relative investment we make in them, contribute to our experience of this life. Rather than chasing happiness one Coach purse at at time, one vacation at at time, one promotion at a time...we should give our insides a chance to fulfill us.
Have you truly given thought to what JOY means to you? Can you put into words a path to your own true happiness? Can you even give words to those elements in your life that would give you joy? Or is it all a convoluted mishmash of beautiful clothes, exotic locales, red carpet parties and other people's toys?
Imagine the potential if you could long for your own soul's fulfillment in that same way that you pine away for your next, newest and most coveted possession. What if you put the same energy into feeding your heart and mind that you exerted on your envy of what others seem to have?
Next time you feel the pull of that green devil of consumerism, try these five steps before you give him your full attention (and you may find that you no longer care for what he is offering today)!
Now imagine the power you have just given yourself. Rather than moving from a place of envy and jealousy, you can begin to appreciate these gifts a bit differently. Rather than resenting the gifts we do not have, what would happen if we chose to be grateful for all of the good things that ANYONE has?
Can we shift our minds to be happy for ANYONE who has things to be jealous of? Can we only be happy for people we love? Or can we extend our gratitude beyond our inner circle? Can we decide not to be stingy with our happiness for other's success, but rather grow in our own gratitude and extend it to everyone who has achieved, succeeded, benefited, excelled, etc.?
This is a mind shift that takes us from a place of deficit- thinking, and moves us into a place of abundance. In acknowledging another person's gifts, we don't have to immediately accrue resentment along with our observations. We can choose to be grateful, even for those who have something we do not.
What if we all made this mind shift? What if we all made it a practice to be happy for those who 'have'? Would it make us more compassionate? Would it make us better able to see opportunities for ourselves, rather than locking ourselves into the dead-end of jealousy?
There is something very powerful in wishing others well. There is something very primal in choosing graciousness over resentment. There is something uplifting and exciting about identifying with the flow of positive potential in the world, rather than in living in the muck of a 'poor me' mentality.
Anything is possible if you focus on potential. All doors will remain closed to you if you can't elevate yourself beyond coveting what others have. The universe is expansive (and expanding), and there is room for everyone to enjoy some measure of success. Envy sucks the life out of your goals and dreams, and clouds your mind to the possibilities for yourself.
Let your insides reflect the energy of gratitude and possibility, and suddenly other people's outsides are no longer a limitation, a threat or a challenge, but rather they are a part of the joy and beauty in this world that you are already very much a part of!
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