Envy, Justice and Selfishness

For a long time now, I’ve known that envy, justice, and selfishness are all a big part of who I am.  I have a strong desire for justice both for myself and for those around me and one of the most surefire ways to rile me up is to show me an instance of someone being treated unfairly.  Envy is something I’ve found myself feeling quite often and for a long time.  I often find myself looking at the gifts those around me have (not typically material things, but more talents, relationships, or life situations) and wanting those things for myself in a way that I’m sure is unhealthy.  Finally, while I typically think of myself as a relatively generous person in some ways, I’m very selfish with my time and I guard it carefully.  As I said, these are all things I’ve come to understand about myself.

What never really came together until recently is the relationship between these three aspects of myself and how they feed off each other.  I regularly catch myself thinking with longing about those around me and how if I just had this thing they do, I would be happy.  I try to be content with my life and focus on the blessings I’ve been given, but then my sense of justice bursts into my consciousness and I begin to think, “Look at these useless things I have.  How is that in anyway comparable to what they have?  How is this fair? I would give up everything in my life if I could just have that one thing!”  Then the selfishness begins and I more jealously guard the things I have (freedom, time, solitude).  I shut people out so I can stop comparing myself to them, so I can stop being dissatisfied, so I can forget the life I have.

Of the three parts of my personality that contribute to this cycle, I always thought that my sense of justice was a blessing.  That it was one way I could be godly and express his love to the world, but I’ve realized that, more often than not, it only causes frustration and bitterness.  Even when I fight for justice on someone else’s behalf, it’s usually just an exercise in futility and no good comes of it.  I’m beginning to think that I should stop thinking in terms of fairness and equality and just focus on willing the good of others in all things.

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