« Mais, après m'être interrogé, je puis témoigner que, parmi mes nombreuses faiblesses, n'a jamais figuré le défaut le plus répandu parmi nous, je veux dire l'envie, véritable cancer des sociétés et des doctrines. » — Albert Camus
To be honest I am a terribly envious person. I envy the lives of others towards idolisation, to a painful extent. If I could swap lives with someone I would in a heartbeat; I would exchange my problems for yours and it would be good insofar as they would be different. I could take the good from yours that I perceive lacking in my own. Envy requires a certain kind of unhappiness, or emptiness; you perceive something to be missing and instead of letting it go and appreciating what you do have, you want to have what everyone else are having, or you wish to be better than them in some respect. Ideally you should be comparing yourself to those better than you, even though it has the potential to make you ultimately unhappy.
I have no idea how to make mine or any other's lives "better". I don't suppose there is a magic trick and all those baby steps seem hopeless and inadequate and outright silly. Would it really make you less anxious to exercise and read the newspaper? Or to spend more money on food? Or keep a budget or do things on time? What if these things were impossible to realise, or what if the feeling of malcontent were so permeating that even those unassuming activities turned dull and sour? I suppose this all ties in with my contempt for "new age" or "self-help" literature and methods. There is no "copping out". There is a lot of insanely hard work to be done and human beings aren't particularly inclined to do things the hard way, unless we get lost in the coils of confusion, or cornered, or endeavour to find a way out of a compromising situation.
Surprisingly (to me) I envy people with entirely different qualities; I envy people who, objectively, would be considered worse off than me. I envy those who have astonishingly similar histories, but theirs, for some reason, have turned out infinitely better than my own, and I have seemingly endless remorse for the potential that I have thrown or am throwing to the hounds. I envy cruel and bitter people because they are less emotionally impoverished, I envy those who are mean to me for their clear perspectives. I envy jealous girls for their motives, I envy people who bite. And in the end I am obviously the one to emerge naked and beaten. It is a game that cannot be won, but it seems too hard to bring back to equilibrium. And the solution isn't attaining all these things, but "coming to terms" with them. I've had periods when my envy and I have been good friends, he's been absent and I've moved on; but as envy is tied to my foot like a millstone the presence of it only grows as I grapple with the stark absence of basically everything else. There is an imbalance of perception as I cannot be one thing that is real and one thing that isn't real; one thing that can be explained, but in reality, is inexplicable. And envy is either real or unreal depending on whether a feeling is considered genuine.
As though I just want your life as my own and find that honestly too much to ask.