“I envy you, Cristina.” This is what I have been told some years ago, while I was taking professional photos at an event and was really enjoying being there and doing it. My heart warmed and I felt compassion for the person in front of me. “You have no idea how challenging my life is, almost each day. I doubt you can envy it. You see now only a small part of my life.” was the thought that crossed my mind, left unspoken.
I feel envy too. Once I actually wrote a letter of envy to a friend and also got a quite nice and wise response, although I feared rejection.
But let’s start with the letter.
“I realized that each time I visited you, in the last years, in the background I had a feeling of envy. Because you had/were more than I had/was. In the beginning, the discomfort of feeling this emotion was avoided by keeping myself away from you. This happened although I knew that the experiences that nourish me the most in life are related to human connection: talking, sharing and listening.
Despite all that, the wound embittered when feeling envy was too painful to bear.
Far away from our city, I thought more about this issue and understood that no matter how spiritual an evolved I might consider myself, I still have work to do at “me versus the others” part. It is about defining my personal value by comparing myself to the people around me.
The envy I felt was actually hiding a more painful feeling, of failure. Although I have not been told explicitly, I was raised in order to be better than everyone else around me. That meant being and having more in all aspects of life. With this software running in my head, each meeting with you was sending me the message: “You see? You are still not good enough. You failed.” And I felt like shit.
Of course, you have no guilt regarding this situation. You put a mirror in front of myself in which I did not want to look, because that hurt too much. Now it still hurts, but I do look in the mirror.
I am not sure how, but I know it is not healthy to remain stuck in this feeling of failure and that I better uninstall this software of evaluating myself exclusively by comparison with the others.
How vulnerable and exposed I feel, now when I am writing to you. But something is telling me that this is a good step, like an acceptance of what is and getting out of denial, no matter how you might think of my gesture. Especially that some days ago I was reading an article about courage, so I felt encouraged to do/say what I feared as long as this had meaning and importance for me.
This is with me.
Telling my therapist about this, I got the answer: “And what is there, behind the envy? Maybe admiration and I want this too?” Oh, yes!