Through my lifetime of experiences I’ve realized that being envious leads to unhappiness. Being happy with yourself is the most important step to leading a happy life. I learned that it is human to be jealous but you need to overcome it because living with jealousy is bringing unnecessary difficulty in your life. Though most people will always be envious and have to learn this lesson the hard way.
When I was eight years old I moved to Pittsburgh and so I became in constant contact with my mom’s sister’s family. They seemed effortlessly perfect. My life being so unlike the typical family, it was a shock to meet them. I was awestruck when I first went to their house. It was grand! I struggled to not be jealous of how perfect my cousin Sonum was.
I admired her big pink room, princess bed, expensive clothes, piano lessons etc. The day of her ninth birthday her parents threw her a huge party at Funfest. I remember being envious while watching her open present after present after her birthday.
But what I hated most was receiving her hand-me-down clothes. It seems a little petty, but it really bothered me. It ignited a slow hurt inside like a needle slowly piercing my skin. I didn’t want them. I wasn’t thankful and I wanted to tell my cousin… No! I don’t want your stupid stuff. But I couldn’t do that. I just had to grin and bear it. I never could accept the fact that she was younger than me and I got her clothes instead of the other way around. Even though I am just a month older than her it seemed unfair.
She was my friend but sometimes I despised her. It took me time away from her to realize that I need to be happy with myself. I realize that it was dumb of me to have been jealous and I shouldn’t be lamenting what I don’t have. Reflecting through the past, I wonder how I never recognized how generous my aunt was to me. She helped me. But I always saw her giving me hand-me-downs as a burden. And I bet the whole time that I was envious of Sonum, she was clueless of my secret misery. In the end I am glad that I am not her. I don’t want to be her. We may have come from different levels of wealth but that doesn’t define who we are. It’s up to me now where I go in the future. I will make my own future. And maybe it wasn’t fair that she had had more things than me. Some people are born with certain benefits and some people aren’t. But what they do with their lives is what truly matters.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.