You’re in a restaurant and after much deliberation of the menu, you place your order. You tell yourself you made the right choice and begin to look forward to it. The kitchen door swings open and a plate of awesomeness is carried through the room to another table – you set your eyes on it and boom, your mind starts to change. We had the same menu, why didn’t I think of choosing that!? Mine’s going to be rubbish compared to that – should I change my order? No, I’ll just sit here and try and convince myself my food will be fine. But it won’t, because I want that. Why do I never choose the good thing…
Sound familiar? I feel I am a major victim of envy in restaurants and bars and life. They say that envy is counting other peoples’ blessings instead of counting your own, and although we all know what it entails that doesn’t mean it’s easy to stop.
I find the beginning of the week a place for envy to get stuck in. The weekend is over, and social media comes alive with statuses and pictures documenting everyone having so much fun! Drinks! Dancing! Looking glamourous! Going to exotic locations! So much good stuff that you weren’t involved in and that’s your problem!
Maybe you were skint and couldn’t stretch to a night on the tiles. Maybe you weren’t feeling too hot and didn’t want to leave the house. Maybe you had promised to visit your relatives or actually stay at home and do stuff that needs doing for once. Maybe you missed the memo for all the good times and are left worrying that you’re not fun enough to keep up with the party people any more. Maybe you’re not fun at all. Damn you social media.
See how the snowball of over-thinking works? Your thoughts can be your worst enemy when you have depression, and it has taken me years and a lot of effort to turn these negative snowballs into logical thoughts and steer myself into a happy place that doesn’t leave me reading Harry Potter till 4am to ensure I go to bed happy.
The grass always seems greener on the other side, especially when you have a dark cloud over your field that doesn’t seem to be going away. Why don’t you look like your gorgeous best friend? Why don’t you know what you want to do with your life and pursue it? Why aren’t you in a relationship and settled down?
When the seed of doubt is planted and the weeds are obscuring whatever self confidence was there to start with, it’s hard to look into your soul and see what you really, really want.
Is it really a size eight body? Is it really moving to London to follow the dream? Is it really getting married in the next two years? Is it really jacking it all in and buying a ticket around the world?
If these thoughts are so constant and recurring then maybe it is what you want, and you should channel all the negative energy into positive and take the steps towards your goal. If you happen to have these life epiphanies while you’re scrolling down Facebook on a Sunday night in your pyjamas, maybe you need to take a step back and assess the condition of your own grass.
A while ago, I had a little life panic about the greeness of my grass. My nearest and dearest friends were at an exciting crossroads in their lives – new careers, opportunities to travel, blossoming relationships, all this adventure happening around me while I was at home.
Don’t get me wrong, my life is wonderful – I have found someone I love dearly, we have a home, I have a small business that is growing and a steady part-time job that keeps me going in the quiet months, and a busy social life with lots of lovely people around me. Sounds great right? And yet it can all be reduced to very little when I am faced with pictures and stories of friends and accquaintances on adventures. Sounds stupid right?
Comparison is definitely the thief of joy, and I find when I am wishing I was living the dreams of strangers on the internet I look back at photos of my lovely life to reaffirm it is indeed lovely, and I have nothing to worry about. I should know this as a given, but that’s something I am working on.
A wonderful friend of mine gave me a little piece of advice which helps me when the green-eyed envy monster comes along, and I think it is so useful I would like to share it with you.
Everyone is on their own adventure, and whether yours is on a beach in South East Asia or in a high-powered job or in your living room, you are right where you need to be. We all get to different parts of the adventure at different times, and the trick is to enjoy your stay. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift – that’s why they call it the present. Are you enjoying yours?