Animals,  Health & wellbeing

The shadow side of abundance

“Envy is ever joined with the comparing of a person’s self. Where there is no comparison, there is no envy.” ~Francis Bacon

As Thanksgiving approaches, we reflect on the concept of abundance. But abundance also has an interesting shadow side — and it can be painful to acknowledge.

I’m talking about envy and jealousy. When someone has an abundance of gifts or advantages that you lack, for instance, you might struggle with feelings of envy. On the other hand, a person who owns an embarrassment of riches might suffer the awkward consequences of someone else’s envy or jealousy.

On the positive side, envy inspires us to achieve goals or become better versions of ourselves. But if we’re always competing or comparing, envy can be counterproductive and erode our sense of wellbeing. It can overpower and spoil relationships.

We can do better. As Francis Bacon reminds us today, envy disappears when we stop comparing ourselves to others and start focusing on our individual gifts and resources. ~CL

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

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