Did you ever have a time when you looked around and it seemed EVERYONE had it better than you? You’re single, and all your friends are getting married. You’re married and have been trying to have kids…but everyone else is having kids except you. You’ve been saving every penny trying to get out of debt, but you keep hitting set backs while everyone else around you are buying homes, going on amazing vacations and seem to have nicer things. That’s when I experience the J-Word. JEALOUSY.
I was wrestling through that the other day. I had experienced some setbacks in some of my goals and felt like someone pricked me with a needle and started to bleed hope. Then I looked around at friends and acquaintances who were advancing in their goals, going to amazing places and doing amazing things and the pin prick became a torrent river flowing out of me. I felt demotivated, devalued and deflated.
The more I looked around, the easier it became to compare the WORST that I knew about myself with the BEST that I saw all around me. It felt like maybe I’d never get ahead, stuck like paint on a wall. In these moments…I pray…and I do believe God answers. In unexpected ways and places.
Last week, I explained I’m always listening to podcasts. One podcast that I listen to often, but didn’t mention (remember…to many to share) was Freakonomics. And it felt like God had dropped this sound file just for me to listen to called: “Why is My Life so Hard?” I won’t go through the whole podcast, but I think you should listen to it. After listening to it, and searching my own soul, I wanted to share some insights that helped me overcome jealousy and actually choose joy.
This is normal.
In the podcast, they talk about examples of people who think the other has it better. Democrats think the Republicans have it better. The Republicans think that they have it harder than the Democrats. Through the gathering and analysis of data they discovered that it is part of the human condition to compare with others. Not only compare, but to believe that other people have it better than we do. The only way we feel better about ourselves is if we compare the other way and find ourselves better than other people. This is part of the human condition. The Scripture would call this something that is part of the sinful nature, because it does not lead to human flourishing, but human stagnation.
Acknowledge the Headwinds.
These are the winds that blow against us. When life seems difficult, and hard let’s just admit it. Let’s just say that life is hard right now and that it sucks. Don’t think that other people have it worse than you, so you should feel guilty for feeling the way you do. Give yourself a break and acknowledge that things are hard right now. The headwinds of life are blowing against you, and by acknowledging the head winds, you can also realize there are also tailwinds.
Be Grateful for the Tailwinds.
When I feel the most discouraged and the most like giving up and throwing it all in, its because all I feel are the headwinds blowing against me. But I forget the tailwinds. These are the winds that have pushed me to where I am today. In a word: GRATITUDE.
I’ve discovered the power of gratitude, but sometimes I forget about it. Or I get so overwhelmed that I don’t take time to remember the things I’ve grateful for. Even the things that are intangible, like access to a great education, that I have had the ability to finally pay for that education, an incredible wife who is wonderful, awesome kids, amazing friendships that have lasted decades, and the joy of seeing the world in my 20’s that has formed me. There are still things that I want to accomplish in my life, and when I think…they will never happen…we’ll never accomplish our goals or dreams…I just remember the miracles, because I am reminded at how far I’ve come and the incredible people whose shoulders I stand on that have gotten me to this place.
So right, leave a comment or two of who or what you’re grateful for.