Envy is an interesting thing. It’s more than jealousy. It wants what someone else has, is or does. Sometimes envy even wants to live the life of another. It can truly go too far, and it happens. In Buddhist tradition, all suffering or discontentment comes from wanting what we can’t have. I think it also comes from wanting what others have and trying to get it. In my mind, suffering can be losing one’s true self in the midst of trying to have or obtain what others have. Sometimes envy gets us in trouble. When it goes way overboard, wanting what others have can cause people to do just about anything to have it, even to the extent of breaking the law and ruining what they could have had. No bail outs here. We have to learn the lesson.
Envy is an enemy of the soul. It robs us of who we are and our own personal expression of God given gifts. It also robs us of our contentment and satisfaction with our own lives. For some reason humans tend to think the grass is always greener in someone else’s back yard, fancy house, interesting job, or relationship. I could mention quite a few but I think you can come up with your own list. Have you ever wanted something someone else had? Even a relationship? Sometimes it might be a house or property, or a sense of status. We cause ourselves suffering by this type of envy and neglect self love and satisfaction.
Envy could never be a part of true love because loving has to do with being true to ourselves and others. Without truth and honesty then our love is not real, its fake and formed on no true foundation. God’s foundation is firm and built on truth, self awareness and awareness of who we are in God. How could we even know our true selves if we are always seeking what others have, what others think we need or what others seem to be? In all honesty, every single person has issues that they wish they did not. Our learning experiences tend to follow us until we have learned them.
I remember taking a trip to Monterey, CA one weekend. As I walked the beach I saw a lady looking out a very fancy expensive looking beach house. She appeared to be crying. I often dreamed of looking out the window of a beautiful house on the beach, watching the sun set, the sun rise, and the waves of the ocean tides. I might still experience that one day but not because I envied that woman. She obviously was not happy at the moment for what ever reason she had. My point, is we all have difficult moments, so to envy anyone’s life or experience is always based on a lack of knowledge.
I’ve heard many times of those who go into homes like that just to take what does not belong to them. It all comes from the root of envy and obtaining something either from the sale of an item or the experience of it. It is all an illusion and never brings true happiness. True happiness comes from the things in life that are obtained the way they are supposed to be. In this way they are a blessing on top of what we already have in the depth of ourselves. If that depth has true love then whatever comes from it is always a blessing and truly ours as a reflection of who we are and not what we think we need.
If you catch yourself with envy in your heart, ask yourself why and what is missing? It is true love of yourself or the lack of knowing the true gift of who you are? Maybe you are discontented with what your life looks like or feels like. True joy and happiness can only come from truth. Be honest with yourself. Its a defining moment to discover the treasures of what God has planted within you and what that contributes to; not only your life but the lives of others. Remember, value does not always come from dollars and cents. Value comes from understanding who we are as God made us and our true purpose here on earth. Once we have that understanding all things can be given to us in faith and they will be truly ours to have, either material or non-material.
Let yourself dream, but dream of what is truly a reflection of who you are and not what others might be or have.
Loving you from here,
Dr Jenine Marie Howry