Envy Is the Cause of My Sadness

4 years ago

If my hair would just style as well as hers, I would be so much happier.

If I could lose 30 pounds, I could wear cute clothes like she does, and I would be so much happier.

If I could get a paid writing gig, I would be so joyful, just like her.

If we could go on a REAL vacation, we would be happier.

If we had more money to spend, I could do that and that and that to our house and be happy like she is.

If we had a bigger house, I would totally be happier.

If I would make a Top Whatever list or Follow this mom on blah blah list, I would be so much happier.

If I had a workspace that was cheerful and comfy, I would be much happier.

If more people read/commented/shared my blog, I would be happier.

If Cortney and I went out every Saturday night like that couple, we would be happier.

If we had more friends, we would be happier.

If I had clearer skin, cuter clothes, less weight, longer hair, better shoes, more money, more crafting time, more stay-at-home time, more work time, better writing skills, more contacts ... like her and her and her and her ... I would be happier.

Oh, the toxic thoughts that spin around in my brain.

Credit Image: Florencia Carcamo on Flickr


I spent a good hour this morning just thinking and meditating and letting myself be quiet, and I realized that so much of my sadness stems from envy.

Last Friday, I was picking Eddie up from my parents' house and on their counter they had two cut-outs of their hands with a paper heart glued to the palms. On each heart was writing.

At first I thought it was something for Valentine's Day. But when I got closer I saw one said "Road Rage" and the other said "Envy."

My mom explained they were from something they were doing at church. I chuckled because I knew my dad's was the road rage one ... and not just from the slanty, messy left-handed penmanship. My own road rage is very much inherited from his.

But my mom's ... the one that said "envy" ... surprised me.

I don't ever think of my mom as wishing she had what someone else had. But then again, I know growing up, she wished our family was maybe more "perfect" like other families at their church. I know she wished that we had all maybe followed the "Go to College, Get a Job, Get Married, Have Babies, Go to Church Every Week" model that their friends' kids did.

But we didn't all follow that route. Some of us took a LONG time to find a job after college graduation. Some had kids before marriage. Some dropped out of the first college to return home and go somewhere else.

Life is messy, ya know?

I know she loves all of us anyway ... maybe even more so, because we all turned out great despite not following that model. But you know ... there's always that ... "maybe if ... " thought.

So anyway, since then I have been thinking a lot about envy.

I realized that a lot of my sadness and stress comes from me coveting what other people have.

I mean, I know that I am blessed. I am beyond blessed.

But there is always that nagging thought when I see someone get sponsored by a sweet company or another blogger get a writing gig I think I would be awesome at or I look at how beautiful my friends are and wish I looked like that, too.

Or I see new parents that seem so damn happy all the time ... no stress ... no anxiety about who they are now that they are parents. No going to an "ugly place" like I did/do.

I watch people embrace snow and play with their children and think maybe I am not trying hard enough. Why do I hate snow? Why do I suck at "playing" with Eddie? I mean, is it that hard to pick up a dinosaur and make it have a conversation with his Pooh Bear?

I get crabby that I can't live on Starbucks and wine and burritos and Oreos and still weigh only 150 pounds and have clear skin. I mean, isn't that what all these beautiful people in my newsfeeds and reader do? It seems like it.

Why can't I love to run? I want to run 5ks and blog about my new healthy life? Why can't I love eating celery?

As happy as I am with my life {which I truly am}, these thoughts still invade my brain in my most tired, vulnerable moments.

I am lucky beyond words, so why does envy still creep in?

Why can't I appreciate beauty and talent and fortune of others and not have that twinge that I wish I had it, too.

Because I do. I have my own beauty. My own talent. My own fortune.

I have just to look up from my computer and see it in the smiling eyes of the three guys that live in this house with me.

So why does my brain tell me that is not good enough?

Even though my heart knows it's more than enough?

2013-02-19 14.07.25


Katie Sluiter is a freelance writer and teacher who should probably be grading papers or changing diapers but is more likely blogging, tweeting, or just overusing social media in general. She chronicles all this on her blog, Sluiter Nation.

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