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On Envy and Being Enough

Have you ever met people who seem to transcend feelings of envy? No? Me neither. It’s possible to have moments of forgetting, but to leave it behind completely? That’s a tough one.

Envy is a byproduct of a capitalist society, in which we, its inhabitants, are poked and prodded by the reminder that we are not as good as _______ so we need to buy or become ________. We accept this is true, and channel our jealousy into acts of consumption. We think we’re not enough and we feel jealous of others because they seem to be where we’re not and have what we want. At the heart of this feeling are two assumptions:

  • There is a scarce amount of enough to go around.

  • The fact that people do things that you want to do means you can’t do them.

These two assumption are bullshit. I’d like to replace them with two new assumptions:

  • There’s plenty of enough to go around.

  • The fact that people do things you want to do means you think they are worth doing, which means you can do them, too.

What I like about these assumptions is that they make envious feelings a useful source of information about what’s possible. They help me put jealousy aside so I can move forward into action rather than dig in my heels and remain static. I see more clearly what is there instead of what's missing. It's a much better view.

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