The Oatmeal had a really funny cartoon today about who’s watching who at the gym. Did you see it?
The key takeaway is that everyone seems to be looking at the next person with envy … who is looking at someone else with envy … who is looking at someone else with envy. In the end, though, we all get old and frumpy and die. (Except Betty White–may our golden girl live another 90 years, Godblessher!)
I really liked this cartoon because I think it can be applied to much more in life than just how we view others at the gym. How often are we comparing ourselves to one another?
“If I had more money like XYZ then I’d be happier” or “If I lose 10 pounds like XYZ did, MOMD [man of my dreams] will fall for me” to name two examples.
It’s a rat race to the “top” but all we end up doing is pulling each other down along the way. It’s one thing to have a healthy competition going on with someone else, but even a healthy competition can quickly turn ugly.
As a (relatively) new mom, I admit to being guilty as charged when it comes to feeling twinges of envy when I’d read about/hear about babies rolled over/crawled/walked/talked sooner than mine. I know it’s wrong and wish I didn’t feel that way, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t sometimes.
But what I’ve learned is the grass isn’t always greener — which is the point of the Oatmeal cartoon — and being envious/jealous solves nothing except create an air of divisiveness where one need not exist.
This cartoon was a really good reminder of that: it’s a much better world when everyone just works out and goes on their way. We can learn from others around us, but maybe we shouldn’t stare quite as hard. Everyone, after all, is fighting their own battle.
How about you? How do you keep envy or jealousy at bay? What, if anything, do you find yourself most jealous/envious of?