We have all done it, looked at someone else’s work or life and thought that would be nice to have what they have. The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence. But there is one thing that we are forgetting in our moment of envy, that someone out there wishes they had what we have. Our brains are really good at bringing our baseline of emotions, desire and stress to an equilibrium level. This is why lotto winners aren’t happier in their lives after reaching financial stability.
What I mean by this is that we get used to what we already have. The evolutionary floor in our DNA is that we forget about being humble and having an appreciation for what we already have. That camera, that lens, that gallery show, that sale, that purchase. The endorphins we get from it, fade away. It’s the reason for addiction, you need more to satisfy the present, endorphins never lasts.
I used to want so many things. I wanted all the gear, I wanted to get my photograph on the front of a magazine. I wanted (insert desire here), you get the point. But after finding philosophy I realised desire and self-comparison brought only pain and suffering to myself. Envy manifested a lack of in my lives. When in reality we are very lucky and privileged for what we have and the people and things in our lives. Envy just puts a curtain over them and makes us focus on what we don’t have, neglecting what we already had that brung us joy.
When I realised this I started making sacrifices certain things in my life. I started focusing on what I had, and removing what I had that wasn’t bringing me joy. I no longer gave conscious thought to what I didn’t have in my life. Bringing our attention to what we have and what you truly need is very humbling.
- Shelter (place to live)
- Companionship (friends, family)
- Security (job)
Everything else outside of this is just a bonus. The world owes us nothing, everyone is equal, no one should have expectations from others. Everyone is only doing what they think is right. For me, family, shelter, good food & a camera is all I really need. Everything outside of that is just a distraction from what is really important. Stay humble, stay content and neglect envy for what it really is, a distraction from the joy in your life.
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