Tag Archives: Envy

Self-improvement lesson 5. There is a time to talk and there is a time to shut up.

When something good happene

When something good happened to me, I used to have the urge to tell everyone who would and wouldn’t listen about it. A new boyfriend, a new job, even projects in the planning stage. I used to love getting praises from people about how well things were going for me.

 

There’s nothing wrong in sharing good news. But what I found so tiring about it was all the explaining I had to do when things didn’t go as I had planned or hoped. I hated having to tell what seemed like countless people about break-ups or why a certain plan hadn’t developed into fruition. And what I also realized, is that not everybody is always gonna be happy for you. Someone may be going through a hard time and might not want to hear about your amazing life. And instead of being grown-up about it, their envy comes through in bad ways.

So my conclusion is there is a time and a place to talk and there is most definitely a time and a place to shut up. This is true for everybody, but especially if you have a certain following and visibility. I talked about having someone look up to you that you may not know about in my previous post, and there might also be people out there who are jealous of your progress, good relationship or great job. So saying less is definitely better than saying too much to too many people. Just look at what happened to Kim Kardashian last week. And I could also mention other celebrities and even friends who have had good things in their life affected by being to public too often.

 

Keep your council and choose your confidents very carefully even when seeking advice.

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Self-improvement lesson 2. It’s not you, it’s them!

This is perhaps the most powerful lesson I’ve learned. I guess we’ve all been in situations where we’ve been unfairly criticized by someone we know, or being knocked down about our ambitions and goals for no reason. And unless you know you’re receiving some form of constructive criticism, I can almost certainly tell you that the negativity you receive is the insecurities and envies of the person doing it.

 

This should really make sense. We’ve all been in a place where we might envy somebody, generally had a shitty day, or just felt that everyone else seems to do so much better than us, and come with crass remarks we don’t really mean when someone is being all positive. Or if not, the thoughts of what you’d like to say to them might have been there. But it can be very easy to forget this. Especially if the person knocking you down is someone close to you and if the thing they’re discouraging you from is a dream you’ve had for a long time.

 

When I decided to pursue my music, I received quite a few negative comments. Some of them were concerns for my wellbeing, but in hindsight I know a number of the comments were envy from people who’d never had the guts to pursue their dreams or people who had failed as musicians.

 

The next time somebody is being especially harsh towards you, just stop for a second and put yourself in their shoes, or try to see it from their point of view. Instead of getting defensive, ask yourself what’s going on in their life for them to be the way they are. You’ll probably still feel hurt by their words, but you’ll save a lot of energy that you might previously have used to analyse why, how and are they right. Constructive criticism usually comes out of good conversations and has a whole different feel to it. And whilst we never need to be knocked down, a dose of honest criticism is something we should appreciate.

 

I’ve also noticed that some people thrive on fighting and constant disagreement, because it’s a way for them to keep you in their life. Especially if they know that you wouldn’t necessarily be there otherwise, if you have nothing in common. So in some twisted way, it can be a compliment if someone is constantly aggressive towards you. But whether you’d like such a presence in your life is up to you. I know I can’t deal with it, because it drains my energy. So I move away from those situations. I firmly believe that if someone is meant to be in your life for more than a season or a reason, they will come back. In this instance, meaning that those people who approach you with negativity will come back to you differently. And if not, it’s okay. Especially if you’ve done what’s in your power to improve things.

Gringo VS Supercrip

The writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has a very good lecture on the danger of a single story. In essence, she talks about how skewed someone’s view of a certain country, people, issue can be if you just see the one side of it. I agree very much with her assessment. Take the issue of being privileged for instance. It can be that somebody is rich, belong to fortunate ethnic groups, or that somebody is simply being blessed with enough good confidence to take their life in their own hands and shape it to fit their dreams.

The flipside of being privileged however is to be envied. And from the point of view of the so-called privileged, that is not nice. Because proper envy is far from admiration. We all have, at times, wished we were a little richer, smarter, more creative etc. And that’s healthy, because it gets us working towards improving ourselves. Envy however, is just consuming like hate. And being in a position of privilege when being envied gets you into an unprivileged position.

I am currently experiencing being a target for unhealthy envy. My privilege, at least as a blind person, is that my blindness is very uncomplicated. I was born with a detached optic nerve. And the only part of my brain that’s affected, is only the parts where my optic nerves should have been connected, meaning it has had no domino effect on other brain functions. Because of this, and also because I’ve had the right support growing up, I enjoy a very independent life. I need a very minimal amount of help.

Not all blind people are as lucky as I am, not necessarily because of bad support, but because their blindness affects their brain in such a way that certain things are hard to comprehend. I know many blind people who are born prematurely, and just like everyone else who are blind, their levels of independence vary. I know prems who function just as well as I do, and I know prems who freak out when you try to explain simple concepts like ‘twice as much’ or ‘half as big’.

I have a friend who is a prem, and who is in between the high functioning and the lower functioning, although she actually manages very well. She’s fun to hang out with and I value our friendship. However, she has of late, told me that she’s envious with my total independence and I feel that when I have a bad day, I cannot tell her because she’ll point out that “But its ok for you who is so independent”. Another problem is that she is trying to explain things I find difficult away with my blindness to try make us as similar as possible in her own head. However the truth is that although we both of us, along with the rest of humanity, have problems, hers are much more directly related to her disability than mine. The bottom line here is, we are very different and are faced with different challenges. She is putting me up on a pedestal because to her, I may seem perfect and always self-sufficient. And this envy will soon destroy our friendship unless she realizes how well she is doing in her own rights and how much she actually manages.

This friend is not the first and only blind person, differently affected by their blindness that has put me in the supercrip category. And even though I feel privileged to live the way I do, being classified as a superblindy and being envied is not something I cherish.

Another, perhaps more relatable example to some, is that of my friend who, because of her interest in salsa, was declared a gringa by one of her salsa mates. ‘Mates’ is perhaps not the right word to use here, because from the two of them met, she felt that he didn’t like her and the fact that he constantly was minding her moves and steps, made her feel bad – and nervous for messing up the dance classes. Then he started spreading rumors about her. Consequently, she started avoiding him and all direct contact with him. Then SHE – mind not he! – was advised to reconcile with HIM.

The reply she got back was shocking. I can’t recall it word for word, but to sum it all up, he said that “You have no respect for people from poor countries with no money and no education.”

I am personally convinced, as is she, that his problem is himself and just being a difficult person. Had he been a “gringo”, he probably would have found something else to complain about regarding her.
But the “gringo card” is so easy to play for somebody who has grown up in poverty, or relative poverty.

Mine and my friend’s stories are virtually one and the same. Being verbally attacked for who we are by somebody who is envious. It doesn’t matter how much or little you can see, or how wealthy you may be. Life is not without problems and we should all think twice before shouting gringo, supercrip and alike. There is, after all, never a single story.