Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change. – Gretchen Rubin
I read on Facebook that Glennon Doyle (of Momastery) finishes all her holiday shopping by the end of November so that she can just enjoy spending December with her family.
How is that even possible?! I can’t even get my kids to tell me what they want in November, let alone be done with all shopping.
I have still been shopping on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. I can’t even think about what kind of advance planning it would take to get all my shopping done by the end of November. Honestly, knowing this about a woman that I respect and admire made me resent her just a little bit. Okay, I might have even sworn a bit at her – just in my head and I felt really terrible after because she does all this good stuff and tells the truth about stuff that most people hide.
But how dare she come up with a genius holiday plan that keeps her out of the consumer chaos, all snuggled up on her couch with her family? Meanwhile, I’ll be buying only things that include the “free” Amazon Prime overnight shipping because I’m still shopping after Santa has already packed his sleigh and headed out on the road.
But I don’t want to to resent Glennon (she’s brilliant and kind, truly, you should read her book Carry On, Warrior). I want to learn about why the nasty, little green envy monster popped up at the idea of someone else having a good idea.
I have learned to notice when I feel envy and to pay attention to it. To notice how envy is the red flag that tells me what I want and what changes I need to make to have a life that makes me happy.
People talk a lot about feeling bad about their lives because of social media. But what if instead of feeling like losers because we can’t make Pinterest-perfect reindeer cupcakes, we could instead notice that we’d like to spend more time baking cupcakes (or buying pretty cupcakes if what you really want is something that looks Pinterest-perfect, because, seriously, those Pinterest-perfect cupcakes were baked and styled by professionals NOT moms with kids doing homework in the kitchen).
What if we followed our envy to find our joy?
I have heard many times from women that say, “how do I get a joyful life? I don’t even know what I want?”
Start with this:
- Notice what (or who) you are jealous of.
- Do what they’re doing, or at least take a step toward having a bit of what you envy in their life, in your day TODAY.
Put on the lipstick. Pour yourself a glass of wine. Walk outside at sunset. Instagram it. Hug your kids. Do the one small thing that takes you one small bit closer to your joy.
So, who are you jealous of? Tell me in the comments.