Growth & Change: Envy

1:41 PM

Photographer: Nancy Valladolid | Model: Unapologetically Pam
I used to want other people's talents. I would see the way another person dressed and styled pieces in unexpected ways and think, "I want to be like that!" Or I'd hear someone else sing and think, "Man if only my voice could do that, I'd be golden." I saw a picture of Teyana Taylor and thought, "I want my body to look like that." These sound like harmless thoughts, but they were sparked from envy.

I disguised the envy behind the idea of self-improvement. 

I would copy others in order to reach a 'better' version of myself. My mind hid away the envy in my subconscious. At the forefront of my mind was, "I'm doing this to 'better' myself." So I'd work out incessantly and count calories to look like someone else. I'd practice vocal runs and impressions to sound like someone else. I'd spend hours in my wardrobe trying to figure out how to force myself to dress like an artist or hipster.

When we think about envy, we often think about BIG things: jealousy of the things someone has or owns: wealth, a huge house, a huge car, an esteemed job title, etc. These are all true examples of things we can envy, but we cannot neglect the more hidden ways we are envious: such as jealousy of personalities,  traits, features, or talents.

When I was hiding behind the disguise of 'self-improvement,' I convinced myself that I was just inspired by others and wanted to take it upon myself to be better. And, truthfully, you absolutely can be inspired when you see someone doing well. But when you see that post about another's blessings, before you make an effort to change, ask yourself,  "Am I inspired or am I jealous and wanting that for myself?"

There is a difference between being inspired by someone and obsessing about becoming like someone.

I could say all day that I was working out because I wanted Teyana Taylor abs. I could have said that I was practicing those vocal runs because I want to keep improving. I could say that I was using those creative artistic dress styles for motivation. But truthfully? I was doing these things because I thought they were BETTER than what I have to offer the world. I thought Teyana's body was BETTER. I thought other voices were better. I thought other styles were better. 

But they're NOT better. They are just different. Those people are working with their talents. And I need to work with mine.

What I've learned about envy is that it robs you of all the things that make you beautiful, smart, unique, creative, and gifted.

Jealousy is an act of violence against the self.

Undoing envy and this thought that others are 'better' has allowed me to embrace my strengths more. And the remarkable thing? I found that as I learned to love the things that make me unique and beautiful, I became more thankful and appreciative of others talents rather than being envious. You are YOU, and I am me. I love my body, my voice, my style, and my life.


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