Why has it become a taboo for people; black people in particular to support one another? This is a question I have seen floating around social media for quit some time in regards to Black Owned Businesses. However, I would like to take the question a step further. Why are we not supportive of one anothers life endeavors period? Without turning it into a competition where everyone has to be compared. Whether it be private life, relationships, goals, etc. When someone makes an effort to do what makes them happy criticism/judgement will follow. However, it shouldn’t be from those who are considered “family”. When a person decides to follow their dreams and take an authentic path; accusing them of trying to be like someone else and down playing what they are trying to accomplish can be discouraging. Especially when it was meant to be a form of criticism to put them down. One may argue and say, ” Well if it’s something I do not agree with I’m going to let them know.” or ” Not everything deserves to be supported.” Touche!
Envy a word that doesn’t get used a lot. Perhaps because we think, ” Who would want to be envious of me?” or ” Why would I be envious of them?” And I agree with you; WHY?! It’s ridiculous right? In actuality we would be surprised if we knew how many people talked about us in a envious way. Many people will never admit that they are envious of someone. Today gossiping about others, sharing things people trusted you with, and making assumptions has become second nature within our community. Envy can have many faces from being shady to insecure. It can entail longing for something one may have while distancing yourself from that person do to feeling out of place. Even criticizing what you do yet wanting that very thing. One could also be good friend while attempting to “steal their thunder”. Oftentimes you will never know that someone is envious of you until things hit the fan. Also, being envious often time has nothing to do with a person possessions, status, or looks. Some people long for a support system and/or attention. We all have come across people who either have nothing positive to say or they’re playing a game of keeping up with the Jones’s. It is as though they always find something to pick at, criticize, maybe even belittle or down play your efforts. Meanwhile trying to “catch up”; doing what some may consider the most to receive attention or praises. Perhaps we find that we are the one of those people.
Before going to far let’s look at the definition of Envy:
a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else).
Turning ENVY into an acronym makes the word even juicier.
EXTERNAL. NAIVE. VARIATIONAL. YEARNING
When we are envious of someone we often times only see things from one perspective. We rarely see the hardships others go through. Envy is only based on what we see; which is why I created the acronym you see above. Viewing other live from one perspective means we don’t have the proper knowledge makes us naive in our assumptions. We truly do not know that persons reality until we take a walk in their shoes from past to present to obtain a clear understanding. The way envy looks varies depending on who each person is as well as what that person is longing for. We have all seen movies about people who we’re envious of another person. These movies may give us an idea of how some people do some pretty crazy things to get what they were yearning for or to make the other person lose all that they have. When we feel envy towards someone it is a good idea to take a look inward and ask ourselves,“What are you longing for?” Is is money that we want ultimately? Love, attention, to have an influence on peoples lives? Or to have power? Are we willing to compromise who we truly are to be like this person? Most importantly is this person a positive influence in my life? Are they of importance? We all can admit to meeting someone who seems to have it all together and admiring them. But, how do we know when that has turned to envy? When has it gone too far? Often times we subconsciously have thoughts about a person that tear down our own self-esteem. We hold those people to a higher standard than ourselves. In doing this we may be trying to channel that persons energy; your actions become driven by the thought of “being more like them”or better. The feeling of insecurity or inferiority fuels your fire; rather than what motivates you or makes you happy. That person whom you once admired has become your enemy, competition, and PROBLEM.* Keeping in mind competition and inspiration are two different things*
Today it seems taboo to admire someone and have a role model due to everyone being in competition. Having someone to look to for inspiration and motivation is healthy. We frequently need motivation outside of ourselves and daily lives to pull from. However, that person should not be your only go to. Admiring someone can easily become an obsession. This may cause you to loose yourself in the blink of an eye. Our wants at times can be superficial maybe even one sided at times. We have all fallen victim of getting caught up in what we see on social media and our favorite reality shows. Subconsciously we may find ourselves emulating what we see; some aspiring to be one of those stars. Other times we may be mimicking what we see on purpose for attention; forgetting that we are only seeing what we are allowed to see. We may have that one friend who seems to have it all. It’s almost as though she lives the life we see on social media or TV. However, we may never truly know the sacrifices that person has made or the hardships they may be facing.
There was a point in my life were I based my life on all materialistic wants. I wanted the flashy lavish lifestyle with the clothes and man to match. It got to the point where I would find myself saying, ” I have an image to uphold.” As if I had to impress everyone I encountered. Everything felt so forced; it got to a point where I asked myself what am I trying to prove. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with having nice things and looking nice. It is the intent behind it; is it for you or to keep up. I found myself stuck somewhere in the middle. I love looking nice however at times I would feel uncomfortable; I didn’t feel like myself.
Let’s keep in mind this way of thinking doesn’t come over night as we sit in our dorm rooms planning outfits for the party tonight. This starts from childhood; take a look at the kids today. Everyone is watching reality TV including the youth. It is as though we are trying to live up to the standards of people we do not know. What we consume daily we do become in every way, shape, or form. As we continue to watch these shows we find ourselves wanting a piece of that that life in some way. Maybe, we want to dress like them or have a similar life style. Think about the kids watching this and how their childhood shifts dramatically. In addition to reality TV, they attend schools where everyone wants to be the “it” person. It is as though everyone is trying to emulate who they watched the night before. Middle and high school students are being encouraged to envy one another and be in constant competition. Adults and children alike are belittling one another passing judgement as we try to all live similar superficial lives we see on TV. Everyone is accused of being a hater, copy cat, etc; as we all fall into the same trap. Granted each life style and circle is different; however it doesn’t excuse the fact that we do not get to see what truly goes on behind the scenes. As we move further into adulthood many people want to be known or famous for something. This leads to the question what do you want to be known for? Often times this causes the feeling of envy to creep in due to people feeling as though they are in a competition to be the “next big thing” on scene.
Often times we confuse envy and jealousy thinking they mean the same thing. However, they are opposites that can go hand in hand depending on the situation. Envy is indeed wanting something another person has. Jealousy is being protective of something another person may be trying to take. This feeling is brought on when we feel threatened by someone. Yes you can be both; one feeling may bring on the other.
We may be envious of a persons personality or aura and feel they may be trying to take your friend. Your friendship in your eyes is now threatened which makes you are jealous.
Some may even argue that jealously steams from envy. Envy has no age restrictions and it is not gender specific. Anyone whether an elder or peer, boss or parent, sister or boyfriend can be envious. One can even be envious of a hobby you may have. We are emotional beings and many things can pull out vast array of emotions. We forget who we are the minute we feel we are in a competition. Who another person is may not align with who we are deep within. We find ourselves in a rat race to out do someone we may or may not know; neglecting the signs that we are in contradiction with our hearts desires. No one tells us, “just because we see someone excelling in life in one way doesn’t mean that is our purpose in life as well.” We do not have to be like someone else to be great. Yes, many people have similar passions. However, how can you turn that into something that embodies everything that you stand for? Adding our own flavor to something we love is what sets us apart. Envy is what I would call “eye begging”. We see something and then we have to have it. It helps to practice asking ourselves, “Is it for us?” Envy clouds our vision causing us to walk outside of our purpose. Follow your souls cravings; do what makes you happy putting your soul at peace. Once we defy our soul we inflict pain on ourselves. Living in chaos and confusion could be the karma we bring on ourselves walking outside of our purpose. Living the life of someone else could land us in dead in jobs that bring us little to no happiness. And having superficial wants may bring superficial relationships as well. When we find ourselves playing catch up with another person out of envy are we as happy as that person? What is meant for someone else may not be meant for you.
Another person success doesn’t define our success. We are live different lives; timing is different for each of use. Success and love look different for each of us. As humans we will always feel some type of way. Remembering what is meant for us will be no matter what will bring us back each time.
Peace and Blessing,
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