Envy and Gratitude
Vince retired a couple of years ago with enough money to be reasonably comfortable, if not wealthy. He and his wife couldn’t afford two month European holidays, but they could afford...
09 May 2018
Vince retired a couple of years ago with enough money to be reasonably comfortable, if not wealthy. He and his wife couldn’t afford two month European holidays, but they could afford a couple of trips to S.E. Asian countries and they had a small caravan which they used to travel within Australia.
Vince had two older brothers who were retired lawyers. Both of them had taken their wives on round the world trips and both enjoyed a wealthy lifestyle.
While Vince had a busy retirement with golf, volunteer work and a reasonable social life, he wasn’t happy. He was very conscious of his wealthier brothers and the affluent life style that they were living. He felt that he had missed out and was envious of the overseas holidays and the more expensive cars that they drove.
Now Vince’s problem is pretty obvious, isn’t it.
For a start, he’s envious of his brothers and it’s impossible to be envious and happy at the same time. Envy is a great breeder of unhappiness. If it continues, he’ll remain unhappy and probably grow to dislike his brothers and a life-long relationship will collapse.
Secondly, he’s focussing on what he hasn’t got – as much money as his brothers – rather than being grateful for what he has, which is a standard of living considerably better than a lot of retirees.
Finally, just to show how brainwashed he’s become, he’s assuming that because his brothers have plenty of money, they are having happy, satisfying lives. This assumes that having plenty of money equates with happiness – a very doubtful assumption.
Unless Vince wakes up to how stupid he’s being, he’s going to be a very unhappy person for his remaining years.
He has much to be grateful for. He’s not poor. He has a reasonable standard of living, good health and a loving wife. He’s living in one of the best countries in the world and is safe from wars and criminal violence. By comparison to the majority of humanity, he has a very good life. But he doesn’t realise this and is envious and unhappy.
Vince needs a reality check! If he stopped being envious of his brothers and instead was grateful for all the good things that he had, he would start to realise how fortunate he was and would discover lasting happiness.
By spending some time thinking about and being grateful for what we’ve got, we can all become happier, better balanced people.
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