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Photo by Lechon Kirb on Unsplash

Our Culture is Driven by Envy

This may seem to be a very “general statement”, but hear me out.

I was reading about the pending nuptials of the newest Royal couple today, and it made my non royal blood boil. The newest princess, Miss Meghan Markle’s half brother is causing some shit in the upcoming wedding, and from what I understand, her family is not even invited to probably the most significant “event” of 2018. Why? Because of family dysfunction. Because of ENVY.

From what I gather from all of the latest tabloid rumors and overall snickering and guffawing of the poor princess, she comes from a family of drama, envy and jealousy, that this “brother” is willing to publicize, in order to attempt to stop the wedding! …..Seriously? What would make someone so jealous or envious that they are willing to try and ruin someone’s life, love and relationship? No one cares what the princess did in her past, and no one should believe the articles that are available on social media unless the princess herself confirms what happened between her and her father. Further to this, I like to believe, in my romantic mind, that the Royal couple are in LOVE with each other, first and foremost, and if they can wade through the shit and survive today’s way of marriage, GOOD ON THEM. In all honesty, I am not a Royal follower, and really don’t care who Charles and Diana’s children marry, but it makes a point come to mind.

ENVY

We are all guilty of it. You see the neighbor’s new car and wonder how they can afford it and if you could ever afford to have a new car. You see an ad on TV for weight loss supplements or gear and you envy the perfect bodied model they use as the “after” image, touting their product will make you look JUST like them. You envy that body, and you want to look like her or him. On Medium, you see that someone has 1000 fans and claps and you are driven by the envy of “how did they do that? I want to do that”. Envy can be inspiring, but it can also be toxic.

Think about your friends on Social Media and the happy smiles and selfies on beaches, and pics with their grandchildren or their new boat, or whatever causes the seemed genuine smile on their faces. The first thing that comes to mind is “Must be nice”, when it really ought to be “Aww, I am so happy for her/him”, and you move on.

Even pictures on products utilize envy as promotion. You go to buy cosmetics at the drugstore and there are images of Katy Perry, Beyonce and other celebs promoting their new line of eye shadows, mascaras etc, all with a perfectly filtered face. Without even thinking of it, you decide you want eyes that look JUST like their’s and are sadly disappointed when you can’t operate the new make up in a way that makes you look like their photos. Wrinkle creams and lotions are the same. All the commercials show these women with beautifully flaw free skin, and you want to look just like that. Its ingenious and evil. If you let it, it could drive you and your wallet crazy, pursuing the envious trail of hopes and dreams.

Let’s talk about crime for a moment. How many people steal from others because they ENVY and want something that they have? Ummm, ALL of them. If you weren’t envious of what others have or didn’t feel that you could profit from it, there would be no need to steal. Even children go through this. They see something that their friends have and they go home and tell Mom and Dad that “Billy has this thing! I want the thing!” In some cases, the child will borrow it or even take it from their playmate, just because they ENVY the child for having it. Hopefully, this gives chance for lessons taught by the parents and teaching opportunities for the child.

Some people will see what others have, want it, and take it, replete with entitlement and greed. Isn’t that what crime and war are literally ALL about?

HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS?

What would our world look like if we didn’t compare our lives to others? What if we didn’t want to be JUST LIKE THEM or LOOK like them? What if our successes and failures weren’t based on comparisons and we all opted to strive to compete with JUST OURSELVES? Think about that for a moment…

We could car shop and ONLY buy the car that we like, even if it was something that the neighbors or your family wasn’t a fan of and we wouldn’t care if it made us look like we were in mid life crisis mode. We could write about what we chose to, without worrying how the backlash and feedback would affect us, even if we didn’t receive 1000 fans and claps. We wouldn’t need a greener lawn than our neighbor or want to travel all the time like our facebook friends. We wouldn’t purchase products because we wanted to achieve the same results of the models they use to promote with. We wouldn’t follow personal trainers because they look good, we would follow them so WE look good. Its a vicious circle, and if we could ignore the ENVY portion of the equation from our world, advertising wouldn’t need to exist.

I wonder how we could get to this place.

Toxic envy can destroy lives. It can tear down relationships and totally destroy self esteem. There are people in our world that would rather see someone suffer because of jealousy, than boost them and help them achieve further successes, like the princess’s brother. Our motto should be “live and let live” and don’t concern yourself with what other people are doing or how they made it to their mountain top. Climb your own mountain, your way.

I know a lady at our office who spends endless days fretting over who is better off than she is. Its sad and frustrating at the same time. She will do things like report a fellow co-worker for wearing inappropriate work attire, because she is overweight and could never pull off the pencil skirt and power jacket outfit that her much more petite co-worker wears. Instead of being complimentary, she finds solace in making her “opponent” miserable.

A big brother looks at his little sister with envy, because she drives a newer car than he does, and instead of congratulating her, he insults her with “must be nice to be rich” and “what did you do, steal that car?” Actually, no, I have worked damn hard for it, and make monthly payments. The reason behind his envy is that he has never saved or worked hard for anything, and now kicks himself for purchasing a vehicle from a “we approve anyone” dealership, charging him 25% interest. This type of attitude is what has become the poison vein in our world.

Your best friend suddenly just lost 40 lbs, and looks AMAZING! You want to do that too! And you also want shoes like hers, and you want to have hair like hers…. But, then she tells you that she lost the weight by “never eating” and struggles every day trying to look skinnier. Her shoes were the “max out” purchase on her credit card, and her hair is the product of pricey extensions and outrageously priced salon products that you can’t justify purchasing. Suddenly, your envy turns to another emotion, sadness and a weird pain for your friend who struggles for perfection at literally ANY COST. Looking at yourself in the mirror is much easier now, isn’t it? You eat when and what you want, you have money in the bank and even though your hair isn’t perfect, its yours.

On the flip side, we can use our Envy as a tool to push ourselves forward. You see something that someone has, and make a decision to work as hard as they did to make your new dream come to life. You see someone who has earned 1000 fans and claps and you work toward the same goal, making sure you are actively writing and continually reaching out to share your art. You work with a personal trainer, and decide that you WANT to be as healthy as he/she is. You look beyond the envy, and turn it into inspiration and an aspiring mentality.

Alternatively, we can live in the mountains or by the ocean, without the influences of the outside world. No internet, no TV, no social media, no one around you to compare with and just “be”. Tell the time by the sun situated in the sky, sleep when you want, wake when you feel like it, and just breathe in the fresh world surrounding you….. Ahhhhhh…. but, I digress.

In the end, we all live and we all die. Allowing the envy of others, whether it be material or otherwise can literally make or break your mentality. Embrace other’s happiness and congratulate them! Recognize their efforts and challenges. Don’t “judge” them based on their accomplishments, but see them as inspirations to get off your ass and earn what you want. Stay positive and create positivity around you! You would be surprised what we can all accomplish by competing with ONLY ourselves and not the neighbor who has the greener lawn or bigger house. Envy is a four letter word, but it is a very powerful one that can determine what kind of human being we actually are.

Believe me, the last thought I have before I meet my grim reaper will NOT be, “Damn, I wish I would have bought that Porsche like my neighbors” or “Crap! I should have watered my lawn more to make it greener like Bob’s”

I am sure it will be more like “I really hope my daughter is proud of me and that I have taught her to not let ENVY ruin her life”

Writer of relationships / early childhood and mental health . Poetry and fiction dabbler

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