Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Many of us would not think of ourselves as the jealous types, at least I didn't, until I did.
My jealousy was sneaky as I didn't realize it was happening.
Social media and advertisers are more genius than me because they have monopolized on this common human condition. Or it is possible that somewhere in my psyche I thought I was immune. I am not. I found myself overwhelmed as I compared my life to the lives of the many faces scrolling through my FB feed. The message seemed to shout back at me that I was not enough: I had not accomplished enough, I was not thin enough, I could be much more successful than I am. Look at all these people and what they're doing and what they have...why haven't you? my deep inner ego asked myself.
My problem is not for lack of trying. In fact I can tend to overwork and have invested much time and money in several entrepreneurial ventures that did not transpire to the high hopes I thought they would. My zeal and efforts were not enough. Sure one hears about all the successful people that say they have failed more than they succeeded...but one wonders when the breakthrough will finally come...if ever.
I totally understand why people take breaks from social media. It's just too much. Were our brains ever meant to know that much about that many people? I doubt it and I don't think it is healthy. We are too susceptible to gossip or judgement even if it is not our intention. Add the instant gratification element and the over stimuli of dopamine hits we get from likes and comments...we are asking for trouble.
I remembered the 9th and 10th Commandments from my childhood faith: Thou Shalt not covet thy neighbors goods. Thou Shalt not covet thy neighbors wife.
These commandments are guidelines for a more peaceful, happy, meaningful life. I do not believe they were ever meant to be threats of do this or else. They could be deemed rules to ensure good Karma because when they are followed, you create more love and less suffering for yourself and others. Kinda like the good ole Love Your Neighbor as Yourself concept that covers over every law.
My love of psychology and my drive to be my best me helped me navigate HOW to handle my propensity to covet via comparison. My version was indeed happy for those who seemed to have it all. I tended to turn on myself and make myself wrong or less than.
I had been expanding my knowledge by reading Sam Harris's book Freewill. Most of the book is not a place I am ready to fully entertain at the moment, but the following excerpt is exactly what my Higher Self needed to pull me out of my poor me spiral. Many seem to have absolutely no awareness of how fortunate one must be to succeed at anything in life, no matter how hard one works. One must be lucky to be able to work. One must be lucky to be intelligent, physically healthy, and not bankrupted in middle age by the illness of a spouse....There is not a person on earth who chose his genome, or the country of his birth or the political and economic conditions that prevailed at moments crucial to his progress...
Sam had me thinking. I thought about the range of IQ's, the range of outward physical beauty, the range of natural talent, the range of personalities, and on and on that none of us were given as a choice. I thought about how bad things happen to good people all of the time. I thought about how nature can ravage our land at any given moment. I thought about my dear friend who suddenly found himself in ICU nearly dying. He certainly can't support himself while fighting for his life, and thankfully he has a girlfriend who loves him enough to pay the bills, feed the kitties and manage his household and hers while he recovers.
I have worked intimately with thousands of people for 25 years. One thing I can promise you: No matter who you are or where you come from, life is difficult and brings pain. No one is exempt from trial. Certainly some trials seem harder than others, but we all have them.
Where I may disagree with Sam is in this: I have a sneaking suspicion we signed up for this earthly experience. We wanted to experience it, all of it. Our soul was excited to come regardless of the country or situation we would enter. We are infinite thus we are so much more than this minute experience on earth. When we can look at our lives through our soul and our desire to grow and expand rather than place it's expansiveness in the minuscule box of earthly life, we can handle what appears to be unfair or even unjust. I believe someday our souls will laugh at how we were caught up in the senseless minutia of earthly materialistic endeavors.
What if we accept everything about ourselves and believe that our uniqueness is exactly what we needed and this world needed for us to expand as a soul?
That sounds great to me. That helps me not to covet, but rather celebrate who I am. My hope is that it helps you too.
With Accountability, love, and some fun,