I was listening to a podcast interview with Dr. Henry Cloud, author of The Law of Happiness. I'm reading this book now. I'll report back later.
Anyway, in the interview Dr. Cloud spoke about how gratitude is the opposite of envy. Sounds weird, but I've never thought of it that way. But it makes sense. With envy, we're upset about what we don't have. With gratitude, we're thankful for what we do have.
A fun illustration of this is a tweet that was sent out by my son, who graduated from high school last night. He was bidding a fond farewell to his school. "No more FIFA tournaments, no more cafeteria food, no more expired ASB snacks, no more dirt-covered trailers. I'm going to miss everything."
You see, his high school is a small cluster of trailers surrounded by dirt countryside. A new high school is under construction, but that didn't matter to my son. In a quote he gave at a scholarship luncheon, "The guts are good, even if it isn't pretty on the outside." He isn't envious of kids who go to fancy schools. He excelled and had a blast in dusty trailers, knowing he was blessed with education and a small town atmosphere. In my opinion, that's a heart of gratitude.
The topic of envy reminded me how we writers can be afflicted by the Green Eyed Monster just as much as, or maybe more than, the next guy. Book deals, large advances, bestseller status, signing with a top agency--these highlights sometimes seem to only happen to other writers.
Today I encourage all of us to practice the opposite of envy. Let's express gratitude for what we currently have in our writing lives:
The ability to read
The ability to spell
The ability to write
The ability to tell stories
The ability to write on a computer
The ability to cut and paste
The ability to send queries via email
The ability to download ebooks instantly
The ability to publish instantly
As my son closes the chapter on high school and begins the next chapter at a university, I'm thankful for his heart of gratitude. And when the Green Eyed Monster sneaks up on us, we can list the good things in our writing lives. The cure for envy is gratitude.
Anything else you'd like to add to the above list? Do you ever get bitten by the Green Eyed Monster? How do you handle it? And if you haven't yet seen it, check out my IWSG post about our Wall of Gratitude.