I’m a good person. Happy. Thoughtful. I work hard. I’m loyal, philanthropic, diligent, funny with a generous dose of sarcasm. I choose joy. I like myself.
Do I want to be more and do more? Yes. There are days when I want more. Most days. And, after years of soul searching to become a better person, I have come to terms with wanting more.
I love my car. It’s sporty and black, holds a lot of stuff, has satellite radio, and gets 45 mpg. Oh, and it’s paid for. When the Panamera pulled in next to me a couple of weeks ago, was I jealous? Yes. Did I hate or resent the perfect, athleisurely-dressed woman who got out of it? (pause while it ruminates) No, I did not. I should also note that she had Michelle Obama arms, and I’m jealous of those too. I like the Panamera. I don’t want a Panamera. I would love Michelle Obama arms, and I’m working on it. I’m okay with wanting more.
I love college sports. I love the inspiring coaches, the hard-working student-athletes, the tradition, pageantry, fun, and the excitement. When my team lost in the Sweet 16 in March, was I jealous? Yes. (breathe) Devastated. Heartbroken even. Did I hate the other team? Yeah, for a minute. A few minutes. And I was mildly happy that they lost in the Elite 8, but mostly because I liked the other team more.
Google told me the definition of jealous. So it fits. I feel envy of someone, their achievements, advantages, arms. Then I picked up the Webster’s beast that sits next to my desk, the one I’ve used since high school. Their definition was different – angrier. Am I “resentfully envious” of that woman’s arms? How can I resent someone who worked for something? One is not simply born with Michelle Obama arms. Well, unless you’re, you know…
Merriam-Webster used the words “hostile” and “intolerant” in their definition. Urban Dictionary used “hatred/bitterness”. The Online Etymology Dictionary uses “zealous” and “avaricious”, which don’t mean the same thing and seem to be on opposite sides of the positivity spectrum. Envy is one of the seven deadly sins.
So what’s the word that describes my feeling? I’m desirous for that car. I’m wanting my arms to be more toned. I fancy a national championship. Why yes, yes I do.
To me, it’s not the feeling of want or desire that warrants that negativity. It’s what we do after that twinge of jealousy hits. We see that car and that lovely woman, and we’re jealous, so the search begins for something to critique. Pink is not her color. Spent a little too long in the tanning bed today? I bet she just wears those yoga pants and doesn’t even work out. That hard-working, well-coached team wins a game and our jealousy and anger and disappointment become downright shitty, against their team and our own. Must be nice when you bail your star forward out of jail so they can finish the season. What’s the point of being 7 feet tall if you can’t block shots? That coach will never get us to the Final 4.
Sadly, these are all things I might have said in the mind of my former self. As I read them out loud, I’m actually emotional. I feel the swarm of negative thoughts circling. (I love you, Coach. I believe in you.)
Breathe. This is where we say — Stop. No. Not me. Not today. I can be disappointed without succumbing to a death spiral of self-pity or lashing out. I can want something more without resenting someone who has it. I can be thrilled with my wonderful life right now, while I work hard for what’s next. And I can be happy for another’s achievements, advantages, and arms.
So I’ll keep working, and breathing, and choosing joy. I will always be that fierce, faithful supporter of my team and their coach. I’ll add a little more weight to my workout. I’ll continue to say Stop at the right time. And I am going to be okay with wanting more.