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Combatting Envy – My Motivation to Stop People from Taking Away Our Joy

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One thing that can trip me up is when someone I love meets my joy or success with negativity. You know, when you’re talking to someone about how things are going in your life, and they reply with something like, “Isn’t that nice that you can afford a new car.” I was taught that those negative comments are a way for envious people to take away someone else’s joy.

I’ve been really affected by those kinds of remarks. Aside from making me feel bad about who I am, or guilty for what I have, they also make me feel apart from the group. Comments like, “Well, if you were my sister-in-law, I’d hate you, too.” Hit me like a knife in the chest. And when I hear something like that, I think I (consciously or unconsciously) dim my light so it doesn’t shine too brightly and alienate me from the pack.

What’s helping to heal that old wound is the concept I shared last week: Ubuntu (oo·boon·too). Since I was a little girl, I have been deeply energized by other people’s success. I’ve often described the experience as, “It feels like it’s happening to me,” which is exactly in line with the Ubuntu philosophy: “If you are brighter, I am brighter, we are all brighter.”  If I believe these words, how can I continue to allow envious people to hold power over me? The answer is—I simply can’t anymore.

Embodying Ubuntu is going to be something I’m very conscious of moving forward. As 90’s rap has taught us, “Haters gonna hate.” But I’m done with allowing someone else’s envy to dim the light of the,“we.” To the Haters, I say, You’re more than welcome to join our light, but if you’re not interested, please step away as we shine. This quote from Marianne Williamson has always inspired me to continue to shine regardless of how that makes insecure people feel. 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

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  1. Sometimes a person may just be happy that you can afford a new car. I’ve felt that for people.

    • Of course Diane — I’m only referring to the people who respond in a nasty/sarcastic way, not those who are authentically happy for me.
      Thanks so much for posting your thoughts, I really appreciate it!

  2. I also get excited when others have accomplishments and are able to do amazing things. Also – I would LOVE you if I were your sister in law. Just saying

    • THANK YOU GINGER! I’ve been blessed with 5 amazing sister-in-laws, and I think all of them love me (most of the time), but I’m always happy to add another sister to the list!

  3. You are so right Megan! We must be mindful not to allow anyone to rain on our parade when wonderful things/events occur in our lives When growing up and becoming a grownup, I always admired those people who achieved their joy whether it was through hard work, innate talent, or just plain luck. Their lives were inspirational to me and caused me to strive harder to achieve my dreams as well and envy was never in my heart. It was pure happiness for them. As time progressed, those high maintenance people who made envious comments were no longer in my friendship category.

    • I LOVE that Georgia! I too find that successful people motivate me to reach higher and travel farther. I appreciate their strength because it let’s me know I have it within me if I just dig deep enough. And I completely concur with getting “high maintenance people” out of our “friendship category.”
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment~

  4. Thank you for this message! It’s just what I needed to share with my teenage daughter, to remind her that she was born to shine, that she is powerful beyond measure.

    • That is so beautiful MB — sounds like the perfect thing to share with your girl.
      Thanks so much for your comment~

  5. Such an important lesson!??

    • Thanks so much for checking in Patti!
      So nice to hear from you <3

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