FAITH

How to avoid envy and dissatisfaction

Envy and dissatisfaction can ruin a person’s life. But there are steps we can take to keep these feelings at bay.

Table of Contents

THE CABIN

My husband and I are at our “teeny-tiny red cabin”. We bought it eighteen years ago, move-in ready.  It’s adorable.  We love it.  But it was only about 500 square feet. That’s fine for the two of us but when family members come for a visit we need more space so two years ago we had local Amish people build our even cuter she-shed “LaCabinette”, a 12’ x 16’ building with a porch. 

Here’s the inside of the cabin. While it was move-in ready, I watched to change up a couple of things two years ago. We ripped out the carpet, had a new floor installed, and even added a separate bedroom about them fifteen years later.

Everything, except for the two futons and stove and refrigerator is from Goodwill, thrift stores, and garage sales. It has been so much fun finding everything, painting, repurposing, etc. So much more fun than buying new.

The bottom three pictures show it after we added the floor and painted all the paneling. I love my black wall. The middle column shows the sleeping alcove before. It is now the living room. The bottom row shows the living room and kitchen as it is now.

THE SHE-SHED

We left all the 2’ x 4’s exposed, walls and ceilings.  We “whitewashed” the peak in a beautiful pale aqua blue and the walls are whitewashed in white.  Except for the futons in both buildings, everything is from thrift shops. I do a lot of writing here. It is my own personal retreat and is the most peaceful place I know.

It’s pink and gold and “frenchy.” I have since replaced the light fixture in the “kitchen”
with an adorable chandelier.

The outside is painted to match the cabin because I couldn’t have a pink she-shed now, could I?

If you look at the bottom right picture above, you will see the lace cover on the futon. It was a lace bedspread and I knew it would be perfect for the futon.

My husband added all the shelves on the back wall so I could decorate the whole wall.

ENVY AND DISSATISFACTION

Now that you know how much I love it here, you’ll be surprised at my reaction to what I’m going to tell you.  I’m embarrassed to share this with you but I promised to always be honest. As it turned out, I found myself envious of something bigger and grander.

My husband and I were walking along the gravel road around the corner from “teeny-tiny red cabin” and we came upon this big, beautiful home under construction. The owner invited us in to look around once he learned we were neighbors. The inside was everything I could imagine, even unfinished. Our teeny-tiny cabin would fit inside the living room alone. My heart yearned.  I was envious.

It was a log cabin in every sense of the word. No sheetrock walls anywhere. The ceiling towered. We walked back to the cabin and my tiny adorable she-shed seemed to be embarrassed. I apologized to her for comparing her to the other house.

Comparison

cabin/envy and dissatisfactionpexels-photo-2294125.jpeg

When we purchased the cabin, the thing we like most is that it was small. Our main home is on the larger side and being an old farmhouse it has three floors not counting the basement. (I seldom use the third floor now but I used to.) I can clean the cabin in an hour or so and the she-shed seldom needs much done except in spring and fall.

That was the whole point of going small. It was to be a get-away, not a do-more-work cabin. Up to this point, I had been perfectly content with my teeny tiny red cabin until I began comparing it to something I convinced myself I thought I should want but didn’t.

Contentment

Why is it so fleeting? What makes us perfectly happy with what we have and then whoosh, it’s gone when we see something better? How do we go from being discontent with what we genuinely love to wanting something else?

Surely, it can’t be that we don’t realize there’s always something better?

Surely it’s not that we don’t know there are those around the world with so much less?

Could it be it’s because we’re afraid to admit we are satisfied with the status quo? I mean, society expects us to want more, doesn’t it? (About “more”. My next book is all about more but more in a spiritual sense only.) The answer is no. If we are content with what have, we don’t owe anyone an apology for not wanting bigger and better.

Contamination

I am content to never buy clothes at full retail price unless I am forced to, preferring to find items at garage sales, and thrift shops, and because I used to manage a retail store; I know the mark-up. 🙂 It’s fun to see what I can redo or change to make work for me. It appeals to the creative side of me that “new” never could.

Dissatisfaction and envy can contaminate every area of our lives. Our minds seem to easily take one dissatisfaction and spill it out in every area of our lives. It’s easy to let dissatisfaction in one area in our life and generalize it to other areas in our life. That’s not good.

We become dissatisfied with everyone, including ourselves.

WHAT DO WE DOwith envy and dissatisfaction?

However, I am not going to say be grateful, although I will discuss gratitude later. It’s too cliche’ and you know it anyway. Besides, everyone knows we are to be grateful but just telling someone to be grateful doesn’t usually work. Each person has to come to that place themselves.

And timing is everything. Telling someone who has just lost everything to be grateful is throwing salt on an open wound. That’s what Job’s friends did.

It’s human to feel envy. It’s human to be dissatisfied on occasion. Just because it’s human, doesn’t mean it’s ok, but it also doesn’t mean we berate ourselves. We make it even worse when we do. Tomorrow, I will offer some ideas to manage these destructive emotions.

CAN envy and DISSATISFACTION LEAD TO GOOD?

Dissatisfaction can result in good outcomes if our dissatisfaction leads us to make necessary changes. We probably make few significant changes in our lives without some initial dissatisfaction. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I think we all know the difference between dissatisfaction that serves no purpose other than making us envious and dissatisfaction in areas that could lead us to constructive change

What about you?  Have you found yourself dissatisfied with something and then realized your mood had taken a nosedive?  What could you do to feel more satisfied with your life?

I’ll post more about that tomorrow.

God bless and have a good day.

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