Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Envy: Spoiling the Enjoyment of Others' Pleasure Since 1500BC

I just got back from visiting friends who have moved into a beautiful new home. It's gorgeous and has many features I've always wanted in a home. It's also well above any price range I'm likely to afford in my lifetime, unless things change radically very soon. I'm thrilled for them, but I'll admit I also felt some envy.

I WANT, so much, to have something so nice. We wanted to move to a bigger place years ago but financially we can't swing it. Even before we both lost our jobs, we weren't ready, quite yet, to do it. If we had stayed employed with our last jobs, we might have been ready to move in the next few months, but it's been a year since my husband lost his position and 9 months since I lost mine, and neither of us seem any closer to finding a new one, so we're definitely not at that point now.

Envy. It's a horrible emotion. I found myself comparing their lives with ours, thinking about what I would do with such a house (it really is quite lovely) and wishing I had the sort of money they have. It was harder to feel happy for them, sometimes, because of the negative feelings I had about myself.

I know it is silly. My friends have worked hard for their success and I am thrilled to see them getting settled in a place that brings them so much joy. We are also happy to have them as friends and we've done a lot of cool stuff because of our friendship with them, which is a nice bonus. They are also very generous and they understand our current financial situation without ever making us feel bad about it, so it's not like they are rubbing our noses in the disparity of our wealth. We're currently dirt poor; they are doing quite well. We are still friends.

Still, I could feel a small part of me resenting their home, wishing it was mine, and then having to be trampled into submission by the rest of my mind which knew this was the wrong way to feel. I guess there is part of me that is like a little kid who sees something she wants and has trouble with the idea that it is out of reach. Part of me cried out, "Mine!" and was unhappy about it not being true. I guess this is something I'll have to work on, to be a better person.

Envy does nobody any good. It doesn't help me in any way, and if I let it fester, it could ruin my ability to be a good friend. I've recognized it in myself and now I'm trying to rid myself of it.

My friends' home is beautiful and I hope they are happy in it. I look forward to visiting it again and seeing how they decorate it and entertain in it. They are an important part of my lives and I am lucky to have them.

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