Society has set an impossible standard: be the same as everyone else. Constant pressure is put on people to live perfect lives and "keep up with the Joneses."
Why is “different” unusual or abnormal? Where does the notion come from that, if you’re on a different journey, you aren't doing life "right"?
I’m in my late twenties. I’ve felt this stress and I fell into its trap.
I genuinely believed I needed to follow exactly what everyone else was doing. When I didn’t keep up, it felt as if I was doing something wrong.
At one point it seemed like every other day my friends reached major milestones in their life. My social media was inundated with their celebrations: graduations, promotions, engagements, pregnancies, buying houses, and leaving on trips of a lifetime. Everyday I compared what they had to what I didn't.
My emotions were all over the place. I was genuinely happy for some. But other posts left me sad. Not for them. For myself. I felt left out. It got to the point where I wished some people weren't reaching those milestones. At least not so soon. Their success left me feeling insufficient.
This feeling impacted my friendships. Comparing turned into competing. Deep down, I knew these feelings weren't conducive to genuine and meaningful relationships. It was a reflex reaction. I wasn't sure where it stemmed from, or how to control it.
Everyone feels this at some point in their life. It's called envy.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines envy as the "painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage."
Envy is dark. It has the capability of holding you back from achieving your dreams. Envy caused me to feel insecure, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, and miserable. With those emotions, I couldn't commit 100% of my mindset to growth. Then I heard about Oola.
In Oola, envy is one of the seven blockers. Blockers hold you back from the life you dream of. Other blockers are: fear, guilt, anger, self-sabotage, laziness, and wrong use of focus.
In the book Oola Find Balance in an Unbalanced World, I read:
“Envy and jealousy are related. They are in the same family. They both block your path to Oola. Envy is the worse of two evils. The difference between envy and jealously is this: You are jealous if you want what others have. You suffer from envy if you not only want what others have, but you also want to make sure they don’t have it.”
Discovering the principals of Oola has significantly influenced how I view my life. During the ups and downs in my 20's, I felt like my life was a tangled web with an undiscovered purpose and no direction. Parts of my life thrived, while other parts barely survived.
Friendship has never come easy to me. So it was no surprise when I filled out the Life Balance Test, Friends was one of the the lowest categories.
I decided to work on improving it. One of the first things I recognized was envy blocking my ability to build positive friendships. That was tough to admit but, ultimately, it made complete sense.
Theodore Roosevelt's famous quote, "comparison is the thief of joy," still resonates today. When I constantly compared my life with others, I missed out on the joy of appreciating what I had.
By applying Oola principles to my life, I’m now on a journey of transformation. As I become more grateful, I become more fulfilled in my unique life.
Now when I feel envy I call it out, and then consciously shift my focus to love. By shifting from the blocker, envy, into the accelerator, love, I’m better able to cultivate authentic, meaningful, and blooming friendships.
Take a moment to reflect on your friendships.
Are you harboring any envy? If so, assess what is triggering it. Explore what your values are in friendship. Write down one thing you can do today to transform feelings of envy into love. Take daily steps and soon you’ll foster authentic and blooming friendships.
This fall my best friend is getting married, another is graduating from a prestigious school in Nursing, and several have posted exciting news about adopting pets, paying off debt, and going on vacation. I’m now able to celebrate their successes without secretly critiquing them. I genuinely feel happy for them, and I’m their biggest cheerleader.
We may be on different paths in life, but now I can appreciate what I have instead of wishing for something else. Now, without the distraction of having to keep up, or compete, with everyone else, I’m fully committed to reaching my own goals.
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Rebecka Mozes is a certified Oola Life Coach. You can find her at www.positivityclinic.com or send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.