One of the really simple things that makes me happy is waking up and laying in bed listening to the birds outside my window. Some chirp, some whistle, some screech. Some talk fast, some slow. I love to hear their variations.
It got me thinking: How absurd it is to imagine one species of bird being jealous or envious of another bird’s song. I can’t say that they don’t have those feelings because what do I know, but it does sound absurd. The blackbird sits on his branch thinking, “Man, I wish I could sound like that bluebird over there. His voice is so nice.”
What if I went outside to have my coffee and all I heard was the sound of one bird? What if they all sounded the same? Not nearly as interesting, right? You know where I’m going with this.
I want for you to think about how you– your voice (both figuratively and literally), your style, personality, ambitions– add to the variety of life on this planet, in your home, at work, in your class, among your group of friends. Anywhere that you go, you contribute to the beautiful variety of life.
But resisting comparing ourselves to others can be really tough. Theodore Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and although we know that to be true, it can be hard to resist. Back in the day we had a monthly fashion magazine or two delivered to our houses and we would pour over the glossy pages and poreless women. Nowadays social media follows us everywhere we go. Comparison has gotten a lot easier. We can compare in detail and at length, and it can be poisonous. But envy can also be used to our benefit. Let’s talk about the ins and outs of comparison and envy.
Often, comparison comes at a higher cost when we aren’t content with the course of our own lives or with ourselves. So the first place to focus if we find envy biting at our ankles is inward. Think about what you can do to feel more in love with yourself and your life. What do you love about yourself and how can you magnify those traits?
The bird who’s out there whispering her song because she’s compared herself to others and doesn’t like where she stands will soon find herself and her offspring someone’s dinner. Constant comparison will makes us tired. It endangers our self-esteem, our goals, our individual paths and our unique contribution to the world.
Use envy to your benefit.
If you find that you gravitate toward something or someone, try and study exactly what it is that you like. If women living a jetset lifestyle is what usually brings up feelings of envy for you, you can use that to hone your vision about the life that you want. You can make choices that will lead you closer to the direction that you envy. You can use that envy to energize you to make the moves necessary to get to that place you admire so much.
Keep in mind that most often, the people we admire have paid prices to achieve the things that we want. Maybe she works a high-powered job which comes with a huge salary. Maybe she’s in the gym 5 days a week. Maybe she spends countless hours honing her craft. You have to be honest with yourself in figuring out if you’re willing to pay the cost to get that thing you envy.
There are different ways to achieve what we want, so it’s important to get specific. What is it about the jet set lifestyle that you admire? Is it the travel? Is it the luxury? Is it looking polished and expensive that you like? Let’s face it, it’s probably all of the above. But pausing to analyze means that we give ourselves a place to start.
Want to look more expensive? There’s a ton of YouTube videos for that. Like luxury? Forgo other things you spend money on in order to invest in a designer bag that you love. (Sidenote: A classic designer bag can be a great investment over time as they go up in value. Shoes not so much). Take a vacation to a cheaper destination and stay in a much nicer hotel. Hell, you can even save more money by staying in an expensive hotel in your own city for a taste of the good life.
Pay up or shut up.
Everything that we want requires an investment in time, resources, energy. If there’s something out there that you really want or admire, be inspired to go out there and make it happen. Possible outcomes are:
- It takes time and effort, but you make it happen. Yay.
- You try it out for a while and realize that you aren’t willing to pay the price. Yay.
Now you get to admire another person and let the envy go.
Some stuff just ain’t for you or me.
We all have to come to grips with one of life’s simple realities: We can’t have everything we want. I have a friend who has big, plumpy soft natural lips. Mine are not like hers. Sure, I can get lip injections, but that’s not a cost I’m willing to pay to achieve those lips. And even if I did get my lips plumper they wouldn’t be soft and natural looking like hers. I’m also 5 foot tall. I’m not getting any taller, ever. I may get shorter when it’s all over. How much energy should I spend fretting over how I wish my legs were longer? Zero. I used to fret in my younger days, now I could care less. I work out my legs to give them great definition which I love. That I can control. My legs aren’t exactly where I’d like them to be right now. I haven’t been willing to pay the cost lately to keep them how I like them. I spend zero energy complaining about them. Okay, I spend very little energy complaining about them.
Feeling envious and comparing ourselves to others isn’t fun, and changing the conversations we have with ourselves isn’t always easy. But it does get easier over time if we are committed to loving ourselves and our life.
What are some ways that you’ve found to deal with comparison and envy?
Side note: I’ll be on Instagram Live this Wednesday at 6:30pm sharing some fascinating women’s history. My focus will be on the Gilded Age. I promise you’re going to love this one. I personally like it even more than last week’s segment on life before the Civil War. I’ll keep reminders coming on Instagram, so it’s a great time to follow me there if you haven’t already. I hope to see you there!
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?