Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Tuesday Tipday: How To Face Abundance That Isn't Yours
When I'm having a hard time, it's difficult for me to watch strangers be happy. I'm not proud of that, but there it is. I don't want other people to be miserable, but if I'm down I don't want to be a witness to their good fortune, either.
And, really? I don't think I'm alone in this. We all get jealous from time to time. Sometimes, when you're struggling with what you don't have, it's impossible to see anything else but what others do have. And it always seems like so much more than what you've got. There are a few things you can do to keep from losing your mind whenever you see someone with more (success, free time, money, fame, talent, joy, luck, classic cars...)of what you want.
How To Face Abundance That Isn't Yours
1) Focus: What's leading to the feelings of inadequacy? Facebook? Twitter? Monthly meetups with high school classmates? Give it a rest for a bit and concentrate on your life and whatever is working. Even if it's tiny. You finally finished that book of crossword puzzles! Your cat's gotten over her cold! The old man who stares at you while licking his lips wasn't on the bus today! Technically, I suppose this is what's commonly referred to as "gratitude", but I've decided I don't like that word. It sounds too lofty; like whatever you chose to spotlight had better be a major life-changer. Big stuff is fine, but since most of us only get little victories on a regular basis, those are the ones to focus on.
2) They don't have your stuff: For some reason this one's especially hard to remember. Here's the truth: just because you want to become a well-known and widely respected singer/songwriter doesn't mean that Taylor Swift got your mojo. Neither did John Mayer or Kanye West or anyone else who's doing what you want to be doing at a high level. While it's true that some people have more opportunities than others, everybody has their own juice. No one else has your money or your fame or your talent. They've made the most of what they were given and you have to do the same.
3) We never see the whole story: Another thing I'm not proud of is one of my jealousy coping mechanisms. Whenever I see someone my age or younger in a fabulous car, say a Bentley convertible, I invent bad stuff for their life. He lives in his car. His toddler son is a terror. He stole all the money he used to buy the car and will soon be caught and imprisoned...You get the picture. My point, though somewhat mean, is surprisingly valid. When you look at someone's Facebook page, do you know what they're sharing?
THE GOOD STUFF. ONLY THE GOOD STUFF!
No one is telling you about the toe they broke finishing that 25 mile marathon. They don't mention all the food they wasted trying to create the dish that won $10,000 in a recipe contest. Everyone's life is difficult in some way; they just don't make a habit of splashing those tribulations all over the internet. Remember that next time you're filled with envy.