A Prescription for Envy

by elizabethbrantley

I was incredibly glad to hear from an old friend today. This is a friend I have always deeply admired and idolized to some extent. When we met abroad I was struck by her peace, confidence and quiet nature. She was one of the first friends I had who was fully in tune with what she wanted and needed, then arranged her life to provide for it for her. I had followed her from a distance through social media, seeing that she was traveling the world with her true love, completing her masters in marine studies and then choosing to live in sunny, beautiful Southern California. I saw she was still one of those friends who is incredibly caring, wonderfully fun and someone you wish to have in your life. However, in the five years that passed since we met  we lost connection and communication. That is until today.

She so graciously reached out to me after I posted a picture that she had taken and we began a new conversation. While I looked forward to speaking to her over the phone, I learned a few things about what she has been doing recently, one of which made me pause and burn with envy.

My friend had just spent a month in Costa Rica studying to become a yoga instructor. Having had the privilege to have recently completed my own training here in Georgia, I lusted after more knowledge and the chance to study on the beach, in the tropics and get some surfing in during the down times. If there is one thing my soul longs for time and time again it is the ocean, and now yoga. Here she was having had the privilege and ability to pursue both. What joy! What freedom! What wealth!

The feeling of envy was quite strange to me. It was like a bubble growing in my chest, creating pressure and pushing against my equilibrium and happiness. Why was I feeling so strongly about her program? How was I capable of losing so much appreciation and happiness about my own life in one instant?

I paused and thought about it. I spoke to my parents who laughed, since yoga in Costa Rica is one of the furthest things they would ever envy. Their laughter helped break the tension I had built up within my own self. “Aren’t you happy for her?” My father asked. “Oh my goodness! I couldn’t be more ecstatic for her! I just wish I was there too, that I had the opportunity to do that, too.” He laughed again.

It was an hour later, though, that I remembered the spiritual tactic to combat this envy. It is simply a recognition and a repetition of the truth –

” What Life has given to others, It nows gives to me and more.”

The moment this thought seeped into my consciousness the pressure began to shrink in my chest and was replaced with expanding, exciting joy. I felt then like a sunrise began to dawn in my body and mind.

“What Life has given to others, It now gives to me and more.”

This thought, affirmation and reality directly shifted me away from a “wanting” envious state, to a state of excited expectancy and trust in Life. It turned envy into a telltale marker, identifying something that spoke to my soul, something that I wished to call into my own experiences. There was a reason this came across my consciousness and experience. I can acknowledge that this envy is a sign of the good to come to me, just as it has to others.

Sometimes we are taught to think ,”Oh, well there must be something wrong with their life. Everyone has at least some kind of issue.” But what a tragic thought. This perspective doesn’t serve me. This statement creates limits on the other person and therefore me, as well.

What I had to realize was that studying yoga in Costa Rica seemed “too good to be true” – where would the money, the time, the support come from? The answer is where it always comes from – Life.

My friend did it.  She spun a dream into reality and should be honored, not chastised, for breaking my boundaries and putting me in the uncomfortable position of demanding more from Life right now.

This envy is an opportunity to trust more. To expect more. To receive more. To celebrate more. It is an opportunity to define more greatly my needs from this relationship with Life and watch as they miraculously come when I believe with consistent and steady faith that “What Life has given to my friend, It now gives to me and more.”