On Envy

The Insidious Snake of Envy
The snake of envy…

I’m curious, do you think of envy as being ‘bad’?

Something you ‘shouldn’t’ feel?

An attack of the green-eyed monster can make us feel mean and hideous, but what if instead we chose to look at it as , a green alarm: *FOGHORN ALARM opportunity for learning here! FOGHORN ALARM*?

Envy can be a flashlight on the area(s) of life which either need some attention or where perhaps we need to be showing up more consistently.

For example, if we are envious of others who might have published their first novel, perhaps that is a clue to start spending half an hour, or an hour a day, to sit down at the desk, getting some words on the page and start chipping away at making that dream a reality.

If it is envy of others’ exotic travels, perhaps we need to figure out the one place we really want to go above all others, and break down the steps it would take to get to that place: where to stay, how to travel, who to go with, projected costs. Again, turning that dream into a microstep plan can allow us to take tiny steps every day towards the goal.

There was a point with me, about midway through my twenties, when I was working in a corporate job I hated, and I was constantly riddled with envy. Everywhere I looked, friends were making their dreams happen, where I was seemingly stuck in a job that played to none of my strengths.

Whilst I took fairly radical action (more of that story here), it put the wheels in motion for me to start to listen more to what my soul was truly craving. Whilst it still took many more years to figure out what was staring me in the face (draw! illustrate daily!), and to actually get there (I was 26 at the time, and I published my first children’s book aged 38!), by getting quiet, spending time on my own as opposed to surrounded by noise, following what lit me up, and paying attention when envy showed up, I got there eventually. And, of course, now new clues show up that are what require my attention next and will be helpful in my own path forward.

Places where envy has been a useful guide for me historically:

  • two illustrator friends, causing me to pivot from running my own creative business (swimwear) to illustration which, four years later eventually helped me achieve my lifelong dream of publishing a children’s book
  • people living by the sea – causing us to move from Brixton in London down to the coast
  • people designing their own patterns (wallpaper, fabric, clothing), guiding me to (slowly slowly!) learn surface pattern design

All of those creative and life aspirations aside, at the moment, after weeks and weeks of family illness, I’m envying people who have their health and wellbeing, a key indicator that this area will need some attention from us in 2023!

So that brings me to you: is there a particular occasion when you notice envy? Maybe it is in conversation with a friend, when hopping on social media (a classic envy inducing machine)? Can you get specific about what next tiny daily step you would need to take to make that dream happen?

Share your dreams with me, I always love to hear.

Until next time, sending creative fairy dust your way,

alexia pinchbeck signature

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