Friday, September 2, 2011

On Jealousy

The other day I was perusing Facebook killing a few minutes (because there's really no added value to your life when you're on Facebook ...) when I saw a post by somebody who was so excited to be going on a cruise. This post followed other posts by and pictures of this person and this person's family spending gobs of time boating and off-roading. When I saw this post I was struck with a very sharp feeling of jealousy of this person. This took me by surprise and disturbed me greatly (hence this blog post), because I'm not a person who is prone to jealousy. My life is really quite good, and I generally want for nothing.

Even so, over the past few days, I've been thinking about this quite a bit, and trying to reconcile my jealousy, which hasn't gone away, with my own life. Why is it that this person, who isn't any better than me (see? I have a very well-developed sense of self-importance, so this jealousy is not derived from low self-esteem or self-worth ...), able to have all this free time and money to do these expensive and time-consuming things?

This is difficult for me to answer and I can only guess at the nature of this person's finances, so I have been forced to turn the question around: How is it that I do not have all this free time and money to do those kinds of expensive and time-consuming things? This question is much easier for me to answer. I work hard for the money I earn, and even if I had gobs of extra money, I don't think I'd choose to spend it that way; and, well, I work and when I do have free time, I choose to spend it visiting with family and going on other more pointed family vacations (see here for this summer's travels).

So, why is that I still feel so much jealousy when I wouldn't choose to spend my time and money doing what this person does, even if I had more time and more money? I'm not really sure, but it probably has something to do with how I'm wired. I have always want more out of life. I never feel like I have enough time to do all the things I want to do, and, much to my dismay, I often find I simply don't have the strength or brain-power to well-utilize the time I do have. It's a terrible conundrum.

This whole experience reminds me of a cartoon I once saw, which I was able to find:

Is it really true? Do we always want more because we feel entitled to it, even when we clearly aren't? I am not entitled to taking long vacations with a boat and ATVs any more than the next person, and yet when I see somebody else do this, it makes me want it.

So I'm in a tricky spot. How can I suppress this jealousy? Just internalize it and let it eat away at me? Or ... and perhaps this is WAY better ... I should try to convince this person to take me on their next vacation ... and pay for it, too.

Is there a third option?!


Melody said...

perhaps there are people out there that look at what you have and are jealous of you.

--- said...

Yeah, I totally know it's stupid.

Melissa said...

This is like when Natalie sees something Kate has and all the sudden, she HAS to have it, even though she was not even aware of its existence before. And vice versa. We all struggle with jealousy of one kind or another. I am jealous of other photographers who are getting more business and attention than me, even though I have as much business as I currently want and can handle. I guess we just need to pray for contentment with what we have.

Matt said...

I hope you don't mind me butting in, I was just sailing by, and it struck me as I stood in my conservatory smoking a cigarette afterwards, that as a christian you are probably 'coveting your neighbour's ass' hence the need for such a clause in the first place.

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