ENVY & SUCCESS

Note: The photos below are from the archives pulled solely to add mood to the post. They have nothing to do with it otherwise

This topic has nothing to do with parenting or babies but it is one that Andrew and I occasionally discuss, so I thought I’d bring it up as food for thought. No lesson or moral here, just some musings.

We are very much into analyzing our feelings. Before Lexi was born, we’d sit there for hours talking about our childhoods, about our emotions, our upbringings, about our inner most feelings, about those hidden emotions we all feel on daily basis without realizing it, about searching for the true feelings behind our actions, etc.

We are all full of emotions. Some can deal with them better than others, some can control them better than others, some feel more, others feel less. Emotions, to me, is a fascinating phenomenon. I love reading about the nature and science of emotion and now that I have a daughter, it has become even more important for me to fully understand how to properly handle children’s emotions as well as control your own, at least in front of them. I am not perfect, but I am learning.

This morning, Andrew and I had this conversation (which is what made me write this post):

Andrew: “You know I have to admit, I kind of hate Mark Zuckerburg!”
Me: “WHAT? Why would you hate him?”
-Cuz he is rich… , he admits lowering his head
-So what? He deserved it.
-No he didn’t. He just started a stupid website and now he is rich.
-Are you ENVIOUS of him? *shocked
-Yeah I guess I am, I know it’s stupid
– I don’t understand…. You can do that too, you know. Start a website…make it succeed.
-I know. It’s really stupid…
{pause}
-You know, thinking about it, ENVY really sucks. If I analyze my exact feelings right now, they are doing nothing but filling my heart with hatred. I am so involved with hating Mark that the thought of starting a successful website myself is completely blocked in my mind. Like, I associate Mark with starting a successful website, therefore the negative feelings I feel about him are transfered onto the prospect of doing what he did.
– So basically your envy is keeping you from trying to succeed yourself…
-Exactly!
-Hey, at least you realize that so now you can stop hating him and move on.

This is one thing I have never understood and never felt myself. ENVY. I am not exactly sure if the feeling of envy has to do with your current circumstance, or what your parents taught you about feelings, or how they modeled them, or your specific brain circuitry, or your life experiences. I don’t know. I’ve felt anger, jealousy (as in, romantic jealousy), annoyance, exasperation, I’ve felt vindictive, I’ve known minor hatred. But not envy. It is one emotion I am devoid of. Therefore since I cannot feel it, I cannot relate to others feeling it or understand it.

However, in my 28 years of life, I have seen plenty of envy around us. I’ve seen teenage girls sabotaging other girls’ attempts at doing better in school, getting a boyfriend, succeeding in sports, I’ve heard anger in people’s voices when talking about other people’s successes, I’ve heard entitlement in “Why does he/she have it and not me”…. Honestly, now that I think about it, all the example of envy towards other people have to do with some form of success.

Why hate on success?

Go out and do it yourself! Noone is holding you back…

Oh wait, ENVY IS!
Rather than sit there and seethe in your own envy because this girl has better looks, or that girl has more money, or this guy started a company, shouldn’t we stop envy from holding us back and do the exact same damn thing? And if you don’t want to do that exact thing or are too lazy, don’t know where to start, don’t have time, etc etc, why complain and hate on the person who managed to make it work?


If we step out of the real world for a second and look at the Internet, I think the more people expose their life to the public, the more it causes ENVY and feelings of inadequacy in those who read blogs, for example (I won’t even start on celebrities). You compare circumstances, possessions and looks in a way that would never really happen in real life. But I think what a lot of people don’t realize is the one-sidedness of those blogs. Yes, everything is beautiful and easy and fun, because that’s what we, bloggers, enjoy writing about. But what most don’t see is that right now I am sitting in a messy room upstairs that hasn’t been vacuumed in a few days, I haven’t taken a shower yet, my hair is in a messy ponytail, last night’s waterproof mascara that I didn’t have the energy to fully remove is still on, 3 empty tea cups by my side, covered in an ancient blanket with Werther’s wrappers all around me. You don’t see that. But it happens. I am not going to blog about it, that’s boring. I am not going to post a picture of it. Who would want to see that? But what I am saying is that ALL the bloggers people read, even the most glamorous ones out there, lead normal lives, different from yours and mine, but normal. People don’t see all the work that goes into running a blog and writing posts with virtually no payout, it’s all done behind the scenes as a creative outlet. I look at DIY blogs and fashion blogs and I see these amazing crafts and gorgeous outfits and I am in awe of these people. I suck at that kind of stuff. Yet somehow I realize that most likely that craft project she is displaying took her all day, or that outfit I love so much came together from clothes bought 5 years ago ( I am just inventing these examples, but I am sure it’s not as easy as it looks). And maybe, just maybe, some people do have it all perfect (I don’t completely count out that possibility)! And in that case, GOOD FOR THEM! I am surely not going to hate them for that.

{I got carried away from the topic a bit here… So back to ENVY}

So when I look at successful people, I don’t see luck! I see hard work, I see know-how that came from learning and trying, I see courage for putting yourself out there, for taking risks. I don’t begrudge them their success. I don’t know anyone who has gotten where they are by sheer luck alone. Yes, some have easier situations than others, where they are more likely to success, but success isn’t exclusive to only those of us who have money, or rich parents, or good education, or pretty looks. I think that success mostly has to do with the frame of mind. I have not read any of the books that promise to teach you how to succeed, but I bet you their number one lesson is “THINK LIKE A WINNER! DO WHAT IT TAKES! DON’T GIVE UP!”- all have to do with the state of thinking and determination.

The conversation I had with Andrew made me think. Made me think of thousands of people who must be feeling this kind of hatred, this envy every day. The envy that keeps them from leading their own lives, from succeeding. Rather than go out there and do whatever it is they envious of, they come up with excuses for why they can’t, and continue hating. Because it is easier that way.

I am glad I will never understand. But at the same time I am sad that some people are so enveloped in their own negative thinking that they will never success on their own. They are so busy hating on a person for being an actress, for starting a business, for going out there and getting what they want, that they will never see that all it takes is just a little bit of effort and positive thinking.

I try to avoid reading most forums due to negativity that is seen there, but somehow I stumbled upon a thread where women were discussing how much they hate Jessica Alba and her “stupid” Honest company. I just don’t get what there is to hate about a gorgeous successful woman, a mother who cared enough about her cause to start a company. I will NEVER get it. I look at her and I see a role model, even if I don’t agree with her, even if I don’t like Honest diapers, she is successful and that’s great.

If you are a fan of VS PINK Fb page, go look at the comments to the photos they post of the models. IT’S HORRIBLE! It makes me sick to my stomach. These people, mostly women, teenagers, are just outright hating on these gorgeous models. They try to find any knit-picky thing about the model to bring up as if that makes their own mediocrity better. This one particular model has a large gap in her teeth. I’ve seen her in ads for years and not too long ago she landed a PINK contract, so she appears on all the VS PINK ads. She’s beautiful, she’s skinny, she is fit and she has a tooth GAP. BIG FREAKING DEAL. As far as I am concerned, that gap is what makes her unique, what makes her stand out. But she is HATED upon and ridiculed because of that gap. Would I fix the gap if I were her? Probably. Do I hate on her because she has it? HELL NO! Do I think she is stupid, ugly, needs a hamburger because she is a beautiful model? No!


I don’t consider my husband and I successful, per se. I think we are doing great, but I don’t think that we have anything out of the ordinary. Everything that we do have was achieved by us. Neither one of us had rich parents, or insightful parents, or business savvy parents, we didn’t luck into things, noone taught us what to do. When we got married, we lived in a 500 sq foot one bedroom apartment in Cleveland and knew nothing about anything. Over the years, we’ve taken risks, we’ve taken the time to learn things, we’ve approached things with passion, we THREW ourselves out there, we tried things. We opened businesses that we knew nothing about and MADE them succeed through sheer determination alone, we’ve opened businesses we knew a lot about and had to shut them down when we realized that we overestimated the profit. We’ve been knocked down, we’ve gotten up, we’ve figured things along the way, and the most important thing is we’ve always had each other’s support and help and we’ve NEVER given up.

So while we still have a long road to walk to consider ourselves TRULY successful, I am happy with where we are at. If it never gets better, I will be ok with that. But at the same time, I don’t think I will EVER be OK just stagnating. Sitting in a puddle of my own negative emotions watching other people make something out of themselves and hate on them for it.

Really… I have always believed that ANYONE can do ANYTHING. You don’t need money (though it helps) or help to achieve what you’d like. All you need is a PLAN, PASSION and DETERMINATION.

{I will leave you with that. For encouragement on your life’s goals, leave a comment, I will be happy to be your cheerleader}

;

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64 Comments

  • Reply
    Lynnc
    October 31, 2012 at 10:34 AM

    For the most part, I agree with your attitude and post. However, I encourage you to consider some really difficult life situations that many people face – such as infertility, loss of a pregnancy or child, cancer, etc. People who are dealing with horrible things oftentimes feel envy for others who were able to get pregnant right away (sometimes this is by luck IMO, not hard work), others who are able to continue their pregnancies or continue enjoying their babies and children and others who enjoy good health. You say that “So when I look at successful people, I don’t see luck! I see hard work, I see know-how that came from learning and trying, I see courage for putting yourself out there, for taking risks. I don’t begrudge them their success. I don’t know anyone who has gotten where they are by sheer luck alone.”. As someone who has experienced 3 miscarriages, when I look at people who have been successful with their pregnancies, I don’t see hard work, courage or risk taking from them. Of course I envy them. Seeing someone continue on with their pregnancy after I have lost my baby is hard. It takes a lot of hard work, courage and risk taking to deal with miscarriages, infertility, cancer, death of a child, etc. We all face hardships, but some life situations are pretty hard to deal with without envy.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      I see what you are saying. And it’s true that I haven’t experienced anything of that magnitude (like deaths, infertility). I can only try to imagine what it feels like. I’m sure it’s hard not to feel envy towards those people however I would try to at least keep it to myself and not outwardly hate on a person for having it easy.

      As far as success taking hard work, I am talking about different kind of success. Pregnancy is such a hit or miss “largely” not dependent on us. A coke head can get pregnant while a healthy woman can’t. Sometimes changing your habits and lifestyles works, other times it doesn’t. When it comes to certain aspects of health they are somewhat out of our control. You can only do so much to be super healthy and sometimes even that doesn’t help.

      • Reply
        Lynnc
        October 31, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        Points well taken. It’s hard to hear about a coke head have “success” getting pregnant when someone who is doing everything right can’t. But, I do understand you were focusing on a different kind of success that is achievable for anyone with the right amount of hard work, patience and dedication. I do agree that lots of people are envious of others when if they made choices and changes themselves, they could have the same things!

    • Reply
      Nat
      October 31, 2012 at 5:13 PM

      I so much agree with this poster. I’ve had several miscarriages and a stillbirth. Do I envy people who have a healthy baby on the first shot? Uh, yeah. I also have a disease that will lead to a shorter life span for me. Do I envy moms who will be there when their child gets married? Damn right. I’m really glad for you that you have never had to experience envy. But I can guarantee you that some time in your life, you will be faced with that. Not having to confront the face of envy is a **privilege**. You are young and relatively pretty and have a healthy kid and a husband and a house. I can totally understand why you don’t understand envy, even though you had some ups and downs as an adult. You said you are “glad you don’t understand” envy. I would encourage you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to understand what they’re going through. Try to understand WHY people who lose children or are disabled or who become paralyzed or who become widows when their husbands get killed in Iraq might feel envious. Just close your eyes, and TRY to understand that envy. It’s not a bad or wrong emotion. It’s a very raw human emotion that everyone should try to understand. And it will help you grow as a person, I guarantee it.

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        October 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

        I strongly disagree with some of the things you say.
        It’s not a healthy emotion, neither is anger or hatred. Yes, it is natural but by no means it’s healthy.
        One thing is to feel various negative feelings about your own situation but to project it on people who seemingly have it better, hate them for that? That’s not right and it’s doing the person with the hatred a disservice. It’s ok to feel different feelings but it’s NOT ok to surrender to them completely and not control them. THAT is what I don’t understand.
        Negative emotions, that people surrender to, do nothing but hold them back, back from living a happy content life or sometimes achieving what they want

        • Reply
          Ashley
          October 31, 2012 at 6:26 PM

          I don’t understand why you are connecting envy with hate? They are two very different emotions, although they can be experienced simultaneously. I too have an illness that will shorten my lifespan. I am very envious of people who will grow old, watch their children grow old, experience being a grandmother, etc. I do not begin to hate or begrudge those I am envious of, but yes I am envious of people with good health. No amount of hard work or determination will change my health.

          I can see where you are coming from on some points, but I think you are truly confused about this emotion.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            October 31, 2012 at 8:48 PM

            This answer is also to Molly & Nat, as well as Ashley.
            I am VERY MUCH NOT confused here. Besides the definition of envy being ” a resentful emotion that “occurs when a person lacks another’s (perceived) superior quality, achievement or possession and wishes that the other lacked it”, in Russia there are two types of envy defined: white envy and black envy. I just looked up and the american term for that is malicious envy and benign envy. Feeling a somewhat fleeting pang of jealous over something and being motivated by it or wishing the person luck or moving on after and hating the person for having whatever it is you wish to have, wishing them harm and being unhappy because of it ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THINGS. The first one is a completely natural normal, healthy emotion and often times actually propels us to succeed. That is not what I was referring to and neither is it the feeling that is most often described as envy or considered a sin by those who are religious. The envy I am talking about, the typical description, the black envy, is what holds a person back, makes them unhappy and steals their energy they could redirect on other things. It’s the difference between being infertile, seeing a successful pregnancy and going “Darn it! Why can’t I have it! But good for her!” and seething in anger “That bitch! She doesn’t deserve a baby! I hope her baby ends up being stupid or ugly”. And yes, Molly, I have MOST DEFINITELY seen women who have trouble conceiving hate on, call names and ridicule none other but other infertile women who went through hell and actually managed to conceive. I won’t even mention those who happened to get pregnant in a month.

            So Ashley, when you think of people with better heath, you’re feeling “white envy”, which is completely fine, because like you said you don’t hate on them, it doesn’t make you feel those negative feelings, you don’t wish them harm or unhappiness. I’ve felt “white envy” (“Wow, look what she’s done! I want to do that too!”) and it has really helped me in life, motivated me like no other. I’ve even felt the beginnings of a slightly negative emotion many years ago that would instantly get chased by “Oh that’s ok! I can do it too!”

            So I am definitely NOT confusing things, girls! Hate is a result of many emotions, and envy in its traditional sense of the word is one of them. Don’t mistaken it with simply wishing you had something you don’t that others do.

        • Reply
          Nat
          October 31, 2012 at 6:51 PM

          Who said anything about it being okay projecting envy? Or hating people? I think you are confused, maybe. Envy is not hate. They are very different things. Also, I didn’t say it’s a “healthy” emotion, I said it’s a normal and raw human emotion. But I actually don’t think it’s unhealthy to feel a pang of envy. It’s unhealthy to make it your whole existence, of course. It’s unhealthy to not start a website because you envy Mark Zuckerburg, sure. I’ll agree with you there. But feeling envy because your friend took home a gorgeous baby and you buried yours? That’s not hate, and it’s not abnormal, and it’s not unhealthy to feel like envious of your friend (just for example). It’s normal and human for that emotion to happen. I think it’s unwise to be “happy you don’t understand that.” It will not serve you well in life, as you have to support others through difficult times. Empathy is very important, and understanding WHY people might feel envy is an enormous part of that. I am honestly very glad for you that you don’t understand yet, because like you said, you have never experienced anything of that magnitude. But you also need to understand that makes you lucky. It doesn’t make the rest of us who have experienced envy some kind of unhealthy haters. It’s makes us humans with normal feelings. Hope that helps explain things a little.

        • Reply
          Molly
          October 31, 2012 at 6:52 PM

          You seem to be confused (and don’t take this as me trying to be rude, I just want to clarify what I think some of the commenters are trying to say). Envy is absolutely not the same thing as hating someone for something they have. Envy simply means you wish you had what they had or are ENVIOUS of what they have. Hate and envy are not at all synonymous. I really doubt that people trying to conceive who are admittedly envious of pregnant mothers HATE those pregnant mothers. That’s a pretty ridiculous and offensive contention.

        • Reply
          Amanda t
          October 31, 2012 at 8:07 PM

          I think it can be a very healthy and normal emotion in such extreme situations like these. It becomes unhealthy if you don’t deal with or confront it but it can be okay in some circumstances.

          • lesley t.
            November 1, 2012 at 10:15 PM

            I agree.

            There is a difference between feeling a negative emotion and dwelling on a negative emotion.

            We can’t wholly control the way we feel about something, but we can accept or reject those feelings, process them, and learn from them.

            Emotions are unhealthy when someone obsesses over them or allows them to control their lives, even or especially when those emotions are impeding them or hindering a healthy perspective.

            But I don’t believe that it’s inherently unhealthy to feel a negative emotion.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            November 1, 2012 at 10:56 PM

            I agree, it’s not wrong or unhealthy to feel negative emotions. We all feel them. But to ignore it, stew in it, keep it from moving forward is what’s detrimental.

  • Reply
    Mamato2
    October 31, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Excellent thoughts! I think a lot has to do with feelings of entitlement. Sadly, people just feel that they should have these things (materials and achievements) without having to put forth an effort.

    By the way, do you have any good hummus recipes? I’m looking for one. Thanks!

  • Reply
    L.
    October 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    This was a really insightful post, thank you.

    Like you, my fiance and I like to spend hours discussing these sorts of things in all honesty, getting to the bottom of why we see things the way we see them, and coming to a deeper understanding of our feelings towards things, other people, and how we see the world.

    I think it is really important to be aware of how our own personal complexes influence the way we see life, from our feelings to our projections on others. I am also positive that it is the only way to personal growth.

    Exactly like you said, envy keeps people from leading their own lives, because it is easier. It’s a form of ‘taking the easy route’, where envy plays the role of the excuse. Finding an outer circumstance that is to blame for your own feelings of frustration/fears/inadequacy allows us to be remain passive and give up before we even started.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 8:54 PM

      I agree! It has been absolutely amazing to discuss at lengths our feelings and emotions, especially after fights or inadequate reactions. It IS the only way to grow. You cannot imagine how much both of us have changed because of that. it helped have self-awareness like we’ve never known before.

  • Reply
    Amanda T
    October 31, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Pretty sure you read my mind! Caught myself doing this last night and was very upset about it. Not envious of a particular person (not my style) but just with my situation, knowing it could be easier and being envious of every hypothetical mom who can balance baby, school, husband, and work. But just realized if I want it bad enough I will get there eventually. Grad school might have to wait an extra year or so.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      I think it’s pretty darn cool that you’re even trying!
      And good job for catching yourself! I think that’s the key in moving forward. Btw, my domain finally went through so “Hello, being busier than I’ve ever realized is possible and goodbye getting even a mediocre night of sleep. ” Yikes!

  • Reply
    Elena C..
    October 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    ????????? ??? ?????? ??????!!!
    “So basically your envy is keeping you from trying to succeed yourself…”
    Your whole post applies SO MUCH to our little town you have no idea!
    Like literally! Every word of it 🙁

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM

      Does it rub off on you at all? Like does it make it ok to be envious of other people because everyone around you is that way?

      • Reply
        Elena C..
        November 1, 2012 at 8:46 AM

        Of course not 🙂
        When I just moved here I was sooo shocked that so many people were openly hating others, envying them, damaging their property (!!!) just because they thought it wasn’t fair! Whaaaat???
        Seriously?
        Instead of doing smth with their lives they preferred to ruin smth for someone and feel better lol
        You know how many really expensive cars get scratched by envious people just out of sheer malice!!??
        Seriously? What do you have in your life after doing that? Still nothing!
        Just your envy and hatred that won’t bring you anywhere.
        But they just find huge pleasure in doing all this crap, cuz it makes them feel slightly better about themselves somehow lol
        I just feel so sorry about them.

        • Reply
          lesley t.
          November 1, 2012 at 10:17 PM

          Yikes, I’m sorry you have to deal with that!

          • Marcy
            March 4, 2014 at 4:50 PM

            Unfortunately I have seen this with my husbands family as well. We are by no means rich but we both have college educations, a nice home and new cars. You would think we were MILLIONAIRES! They are always making snide comments and if we have a get together at our home then either don’t come or act like it’s uncomfortable to be in a nice house. I think it always has to do with the small town we live in — small town; small minds.

  • Reply
    kathryn
    October 31, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    This post came right at a point in my life where this meant more than you know! I’ve followed your blog since you were just a few weeks pregnant and you were actually who I felt envy toward. You seemed to have everything in life; the sweet husband, beautiful house, success conceiving, and a talent like I’ve never seen before. You chose to become a photographer, something I desperately wanted, but was too afraid to go for. About a week ago I was looking through your pictures and said to myself “I’m going to do that. I’m going to go to school for photography, stop feeling envious, and make my life how I want it.” I’ve now contacted a school across the country (A place I always wanted to go, but was too afraid to venture) and am working with an admissions counselor to make it happen next fall. I have to admit though that I am still terrified! Every other minute it seems my emotions go from “You can’t do that! You don’t have the money, talent, charisma, drive, etc.” to “Yes you can make all that happen for yourself, but you have to jump in and just do it!” I don’t honestly know which one to listen to so I’m closing my eyes, doing everything I can to make it happen, and hoping that if I fail I can pick myself back up again.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      WOW! That is absolutely AMAZING! I am so happy you came to that, and ALL ON YOUR OWN! That’s a huge step to take! Believe me, I have done SOOOO MUCH where it was literally jump in the water with your eyes closed” kind of thing based on drive, hope and mere calculations. And I have succeed, failed, moved on, got bored. It’s all part of life. You don’t need money to do pretty much ANYTHING! You start small and smart ( that’s a lesson I had to learn), you take baby steps but very confident ones and you will be there. Everything has a road, a path so to say, and as long as you follow it, you will be fine.

      As far as being a photographer, while I am not a professional photographer, it’s ABSOLUTELY easy! Yes, some photographers have a talent, others go by sheer determination and knowledge alone. But there’s always room for more, as long as you’re passionate about it. You don’t need money, all you need is to learn your camera ( read the manual, read some blogs), practice practice practice, and learn post-processing. All is easy to do on your own before you even start school next fall. I bet you can actually make some money doing it to pay for school!

      • Reply
        kathryn
        November 1, 2012 at 10:57 PM

        You really have succeeded too! You seem to have not only have what you wanted in life, but your also content and that’s not something most people can say they are. Even with the pictures you take of yourself your talent shines through with the way you take the photo, but you also put so much beauty into it with the way you model. You make it seem easy, but I’m not sure I can do that! I’m sure going to try though. I especially couldn’t imagine learning all this before next fall, it looks so complicated. If I could learn it enough to make money off of it that would be a lifesaver!! fggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg=- /8[p-=412

      • Reply
        kathryn
        November 1, 2012 at 11:25 PM

        Here is what my comment should have said before my kitten pounced on my lap top hitting the submit button in the process lol..
        You really have succeeded too! You seem to have not only have what you wanted in life, but your also content and that’s not something most people can say they are. Even with the pictures you take of yourself your talent shines through with the way you take the photo, but you also put so much beauty into it with the way you model. You make it seem easy, but I’m not sure I can do that! I’m sure going to try though. I especially couldn’t imagine learning all this before next fall, it looks so complicated. If I could learn it enough to make money off of it that would be a lifesaver! I had actually never thought about doing that either, but if I can try and make it happen it would not only help financially, but also give me the confidence to pursue photography head on!

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          November 2, 2012 at 12:44 AM

          Thank you Kathryn!
          Please know that I am saying this not just because I said I’d cheerlead!
          I really know that you can do it. I practically forced my BFF to quit her job at Kroger to pursue a photography career full time.
          And you can DEFINITELY learn to shoot before fall. Get a DSLR, and a cheaply 50mm lens, read up on aperture, shutter speed ISo plus a few other articles that interest you. Read the camera manual and try out every setting. Read photography blogs. Start your own to share photos and participate in photo memes. Join Flickr and learn from other members. Commit to a 365 project with a theme. Shoot shoot shoot. Shoot for free. And before you know it you’ll be good and can start charging small amounts at first and then get up there. It’s not hard I promise! Just make a good plan in your head or paper and follow it 😉

  • Reply
    Jessica P.
    October 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    This is so interesting and I think some of your readers could improve their lives by taking note.
    So many women hate on you, but it’s not doing them any good. I think it is so cool that you get so much free stuff to try out and review, and then host giveaways for. But some people get upset with you about it! It’s not like your free sample is preventing them from getting one. If they worked half as hard as you do to get them, they would get free shit too. Heck, you give them an opportunity to win one with very little work.

    I just wanted you to have a cheerleader too. It’s obvious you have worked hard and continue to work hard to be where you are.

    My husband and I are somewhat similar to you and Andrew. We married young, own a business, DH is in real estate, we are waiting a while to have kids. I see you as a success story for what we want to do. I dont have any models for this path in my real life, so it’s cool to read your blog.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      YAY! Thank you for being my cheerleader! It is nice to hear, of course! I go back and forth from thinking the blog is too much work and then loving having the outlet, so it’s nice to get some cheerleading going on once in a while 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah
    October 31, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Love the introspection, this is the best post I’ve read here! I agree with most of your points on envy. It reminds me of a saying about anger, that it’s like holding a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else – you are the one who gets burned. Ditto envy, it only burns you.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      WoW, that is one of the best sayings I’ve heard in a long time. I’ll have to remember it, thank you!

    • Reply
      Vicki
      November 1, 2012 at 6:47 AM

      Another similar one I heard was “holding onto anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies” .

  • Reply
    Tamara
    October 31, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    I”ve been thinking about this topic for awhile now, so it’s cool to see you post about it.

    I have a tendency to create a composite based on the people around me, which now includes people online, of all the talents/abilities/traits I’d like to have and then I use that ideal as my standard. It all happens in my head, sort of subconsciously, and I know I’m not the only person who does this.
    Instead of seeing people as whole, with all their mistakes and faults along with the good stuff, it’s too easy to pick out the stuff we want from multiple people to create an ideal person that we then judge ourselves against. Of course we come out seriously lacking!

    So I’ve been trying to address that with myself by not comparing myself to other people, acknowledging my own strengths, and using any envy that pops up as a motivator.

    I agree with you about the negativity that pops up on forums. There’s something about that environment that fosters ragging on other people and saying things that (hopefully) wouldn’t be said to the persons face.

    The model thing though….that’s probably another post if you want to tackle it. I don’t say or think mean things about the models, but I do have issues with the skinniness. I don’t find it attractive and I know that lot of people share that view. To us it looks unhealthy. And the fact that it’s held up as the standard of beauty angers me. As much as you can say that there’s a reason for the body type and that regular people shouldn’t expect to attain that, I think it sets up unreal expectations for many, many people, and that drives unhealthy behaviors and thinking patterns.
    I shudder to think of my daughter finding herself less attractive because she doesn’t look like a super skinny, photo-shopped model in an advertisement.
    I like the direction that the Dove Real Beauty campaign is going in, showing that there is beauty in a range of body types, hair colors, skin colors (including freckles and moles).

    Anyway, great post!

    • Reply
      Tamara
      November 1, 2012 at 1:14 PM

      And just to clarify – I do think that you are beautiful…As you said yourself, you’re not as skinny as a lot of the models you saw when you were working, even though you are thin.
      It hit me later that you might have thought I was lumping you in with the models I said I found unattractive. :-0

      • Reply
        Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
        November 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        Haha! Thank you for that Tamara!
        I didn’t think anything when I read your comment.
        Some runway models are extremely skinny. But there are also those who are naturally thin. So for them it’s their normal state. So saying that one wishes ads wouldn’t have thin models is equal to someone saying that they wish movies didn’t have fat people 🙂
        People come in all shapes.

  • Reply
    Irina from LA :)
    October 31, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    I don’t think I ever felt envy in a destructive way. For me it’s more like – “okay, that’s a good idea/achievement, how can i do that too?” I think I’ve been lucky in that my parents always thought I was capable of anything and they also provided me with great foundation on every level. So for me, envy has never been something I had to deal with. If I like something others have I automatically start thinking about how I can do or have that TOO. I might even try to be friends with those people to learn :)) That’s why I tried many professions and dropped them just as easily when I saw it wasn’t for me. No matter how glamorous any of it was, I didn’t care – it’s all about something being right for ME. I guess I never felt envious because I always knew I’m worthy and had not a single doubt in my mind that I can have it too, only I have to start working towards it.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      Yup, I could have written this comment myself. I would jump from one thing to another. I loved doing every single on of them, but none were 100% right for me.

  • Reply
    rachel
    October 31, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I totally agree on the ‘not feeling envy’ part. I do not feel envy towards other people, many only for silly things like….they are on an island drinking a frozen drink, while I’m at work on a Monday afternoon. Only silly things like that that I can just laugh about. I don’t ever really want someone else’s life. Even when I have dealt with difficult issues, I still wouldn’t want anything besides what I’ve earned and what God has given me. I think it’s weird when a girlfriend or somebody tells me they are jealous of something I’ve said, have, done, ect. I think it’s a weird emotional. I just don’t get it.

  • Reply
    Anna Kochetkova
    October 31, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Elena thank you for sharing. Very curious to read! I’m truly happy to see that there are ppl out there who loves anylising feelings 🙂 I’m no longer good at it 🙁 but still see it as the only way out (and it’s fun :)). I have been lucky for years to be with thinking men and now when Sam is not the most sensitive guy in the world I still managed to get him to say his feelings and its amazing! Love it 🙂 I myself talk less 🙁 I’m not that envious of sth or so , I’m more closed in my shell now cuz I’m so tired of fighting my feelings against judgmental ppl. I am finally tired and not as strong! I’m called weird even for loving fitness (how weird it is)! So I’m entering all those fitness groups online to find my place under the sun lol I’m reading Mlodinow about our subsconciois and “groups” (belonging) is the chapter I’m on… I think I’m tired of negative ppl around 🙂

  • Reply
    Kay
    October 31, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    I’m not sure the the emotion you’re describing in this post is “envy”, but rather “covetousness”. I think it’s perfectly natural & healthy to occasionally be envious of others. Two examples – I work in a creative field and often find myself envying the talent of others. Second, I have several childless and better off friends who regularly pack their bags and go travelling the world at a moment’s notice – I envy them for their ability to do that…but it’s a fleeting emotion. I know that I have my own unique creative strengths and that I am truly blessed to have two gorgeous daughters and a stable, secure home life.

    “Covetnousness” on the other hand is a much more insidious and negative emotion. When someone expresses jealousy of someone because of their looks, lifestyle, wealth or posessions, this is what they are conveying. Sadly, I think it’s a natural product of the consumerist society that we live in, where the media are constantly telling us that being “richer” and “thinner” and owning certain products are what will make us “better” than everyone else. I try to avoid any forums or websites where girls are “hating on” other girls, exactly because I can’t bear to read the sort of comments that you’ve been describing. After years of struggling with body image issues (so ironic, as I’m naturally very slim anyway), I’m now in a place where I’m happy with myself. I would HATE for my daughters to have to go through what I did, and I think (hope) that I’m instilling in them a healthy way of looking at themselves. That being healthy and eating well is important – obsessing over a tiny roll of tummy fat or having small boobs ISN’T important! Similarly, that being happy and fulfilled is a million times more important than owning certain “stuff” or driving a certain car.

    FWIW – I’m totally envious of your house! I would love to live by the sea and have that much floorspace and light. But, I certainly don’t hate you for it. 🙂 And on the other hand, I have American friends who envy me for living in a beautiful historic village in the English countryside!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 8:57 PM

      Hi, Kay! I just sort of answered your comment below in reply to Ashley, so I won’t repeat here.

      As far as our house, don’t envy me 🙂 it’s a bitch to keep clean! 🙂 besides, prices are so cheap here right now that I can bet you can probably afford a second home here like the droves of Englishmen, Germans and Italian have been for the last few years 🙂

      • Reply
        Kay
        October 31, 2012 at 9:33 PM

        Just read that comment, Elena – I can see what you’re saying. The phrases “white envy” and “black envy” make perfect sense. There’s no real equivalent in English, but have you heard the English phrase “green eyed monster”? I think that would be the most analogous to “black envy”.

        (I definitely don’t envy all those floors that need mopping!)

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          October 31, 2012 at 9:52 PM

          Yes, green eyed monster! Which is why the common definition of envy is usually the negative one. Otherwise, we’d be used to hearing about pale green eyed monster or pastel green lol

          Oh man, those floors… and a crawling baby… yikes!

          • Ann
            November 1, 2012 at 5:31 AM

            You’d probably be envious of my steam mop then! 😉
            (honestly – quickest, easiest way to clean floors ever)

  • Reply
    Megan V
    October 31, 2012 at 9:30 PM

    I remember when I had a personal revelation about this topic. I have felt envy in my life. Not sat ans stewed in it, but have certainly experienced it briefly here and there. In terms of success and achievement, I remember realizing that THERE IS ENOUGH TO GO AROUND. Just because someone had amazing success, doesn’t mean the quota has been filled and no more success can be achieved. If that was true, after Facebook was invented, no one would have gone on to create twitter, Pinterest, Instagram….. All successful things!! Imagine if those people just sat around feeling envious of Mark Zuckerburg. We attract what we think about. We are our feelings and thoughts. Sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves gets nothing at all accomplished.
    I loved this post. Different from the usual but I loved the food for thought.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 9:55 PM

      Yeah, that’s the one thing I do get caught up in occasionally. “But someone is already doing it!” But usually my husband reminds me that there’s plenty of room for me as well!

  • Reply
    Irina
    October 31, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Ha-ha… I think we all have experienced some type of envy in our lives… I, for one, envy people with talent for exact sciences. Let me explain: no amount of determination and hard work is going to get me a PhD in math or quantum physics. Or make me a better speller 🙂 Would I have liked to be more of a brainiac? Totally!!! Alas, I have to be content with the brain I have. We all have natural limitations. Another example: I can not carry a tune. My soul sings, but the sounds that come out of my mouth are putrid. I am envious of someone who can sing in tune. I am envious of someone with a PhD from MIT. Not for the money or recognition, but because I really would have liked to have those abilities too.

    I would advocate for more tolerance on this topic in general… People who experience “black envy” are not always just bad or lazy… there could be other emotions that are manifesting as envy… not all model haters are fat slobs who do not want to go to the gym, not all money/success haters are “poor”, etc, etc. Hardworking people get passed over for promotions in favor of less hardworking ones all the time, women routinely make less money than men in the same position, stupid books (shall I even mention 50 Shades of Grey crap) get popular and make their author rich in place of truly exceptional ones, etc, etc, etc. Life if not fair. Sometimes hard work, determination, positive attitude is not enough. This happens more often than you think. Wishing something bad on anyone is not OK, but occasionally say… “that bitch” is gonna happen and it is OK.

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      I agree! And I was not saying that normal types of envy are bad. I just think that people need to fight the negative feelings as much as possible because they only steal from them. Fine , call a girl a bitch for getting pregnant or getting a promotion, but don’t sit there and direct your energy at hating her rather than do something else beneficial yourself. Sometimes it can take months or years to overcome that feeling (in case of a major misfortune) but the point is IT SHOULD be overcome for the sake of your own life!

      Oh and I wasn’t calling anyone a fat slob or assuming I know the reason for why one feels envy and hate. It’s all very much personal. I’m just encouraging people to step out of those feelings and do something, if not about that particular thing they envy then about something else that can make them happy!

      • Reply
        Irina
        November 1, 2012 at 9:58 AM

        Sure. I know you were not calling anyone “fat slob”, it was just an example 🙂

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 31, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    It’s so funny you post this because I was *just* thinking about this very thing today.

    For me, I don’t know it’s so much envy as frustration. I feel like I am on the verge of reaping the rewards of my hard work. Like, it’s so close to my grasp but not there quite yet. I’ve seen so many people go on before me and succeed and sometimes I just feel like saying “hey, I’m over here too and am doing what they’re doing, just as well as they are, don’t forget about me!!!!”

    Then I catch myself and just keep pushing forward, trusting and believing that there is *something* waiting for me – soon.

    So, in a way, I guess it’s the “white envy” I’m feeling that you mentioned.

    Also – my husband and I love exploring emotions like that, too. It’s so healthy to lay things out and pin down where they came from and what they mean. You are blessed to have a husband who enjoys doing that!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      October 31, 2012 at 11:27 PM

      I know what you mean! With a lot of things, it’s hard work and then to really break out somewhere you have to be put in front of right people or circumstances. But I’ve never seen someone luck out without hard work ( except for maybe Jersey Shore cast, but they are as far from role models as one can be lol). It’s also a lot of know-how. There are so many things we don’t know. And time in is what teaches us.

      Sometimes, it’s also ok to say “Enough! I want to do something else.” or “this isn’t for me”. I know I’ve done it. The point is, you’re not blaming anyone for what you can’t get at the moment, you don’t hate them for that. You just think that it’s not fair, you deserve it as well, you’re just as good. And that’s fine!
      I am sure whatever it is, you ARE going to succeed. Sometimes, redefining your goals, or simply changing a thin or two is all that is needed. And sometimes, all you need is time. Great example was modeling for me. I was really successful in NYC, from the get go, I got jobs, I was able to pay my crazy expenses right away, but in that field you need time. You need to build a portfolio and connections and with all that times ( years) and hard work, eventually you might get in front of the right person and get somewhere. I didn’t have that time, because I wanted to start a family and I wasn’t 16, and I also realized I don’t want modeling as my career ( i was getting more and more dumb with every month I spent modeling, because I wasn’t taking the time to learn or read). So I moved onto the next thing.

      Good Luck, girl!

  • Reply
    Chelsea Head
    November 1, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    I’m not going to speak on your topic per say, but my goodness, why is everyone always taking what you say so durn personal… I can’t relate to having a terminal illness, but I have experienced infertility and baby loss.. and it’s a hard road to travel, and yes it makes you envious,,, but why hate on you for your opinions. . it KILLS me!!

    • Reply
      Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
      November 1, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      I think it might have to do with not having come to terms with the misfortune so everyone who speaks about it is wrong in their eyes and what they are feeling is right. I don’t know…
      I’m sure it FEELS right to them, some people go through tough stuff and it’s hard to deal with it without becoming bitter or jaded or aggressive? I’m just guessing here of course.

      • Reply
        Nat
        November 1, 2012 at 10:08 PM

        I’m just speaking for myself, but I’m not hating on Elena for her opinions. I was trying to explain to her the legit reasons that some people have for feeling envy. I’m not bitter about my loss, and I am not aggressive, either. I keep it to myself when I feel envy (especially over healthy babies). I throw my friends baby showers, even. 🙂 Just because I was explaining that there is a legit reason people feel envy, and that it is a normal emotion, doesn’t mean I haven’t come to terms with my own loss. It means I care enough to try to reach out and educate people. I don’t think you’re necessarily “wrong and I’m right”, I just think there are maybe some tough things you haven’t experienced yet. I was simply trying to explain what that is like for people, to go through hardship and feel pangs of envy. I think other posters were doing the same. I don’t see any anger or aggression in their posts, I see honesty and emotion.

        • Reply
          Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
          November 1, 2012 at 10:44 PM

          And that is exactly why I said that there are two types of envy. One that is not destructive and is ok to feel (like what you described you feel) and another type where you literally hate on another person which is what I was talking about. I don’t think it’s EVER ok to project your misfortune on others (even though it often happens automatically).

          • Nat
            November 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

            Yes, you clarified that in your comments, and I appreciate it. I still kind of felt like you were telling us who wrote in to tell you about envy that we were “wrong” or “confused” though, which is why I still felt the need to clarify that we may NOT be wrong or confused or projecting. We may just have experienced things you haven’t yet. 🙂 Be glad you haven’t, but don’t be quick to label our experiences black or white or wrong or right. Human emotion isn’t that easy to box and label. It’s tough.

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby
            November 2, 2012 at 12:26 AM

            Nat, I felt YOU were telling me I was confusing envy with hatred in those words.I never said you were wrong. Your feelings are valid. All feelings are valid. It’s how people deal with them what makes them right or wrong in my opinion. It’s ok to feel bitter or wronged or anger or like life is unfair! It’s not ok to seriously spew venom at other people for that. I know in a tough situation it’s difficult to rise above and be this strong good person, but if not right away then eventually it’s the right and beneficial thing to do as hard as it is. That’s all I am saying. It doesn’t invalidate anyone’s hurt or loss or their feelings.
            Besides, to be completely honest, while writing this post I wasn’t even thinking or referring to people who actually have something to truly be upset about. I was talking about able bodied young and old women/men who live a normal life without too much pain who hate on other women/men for having something that want that they could easily achieve if they tried. That’s what I’ve seen in life. Not the hard stuff you’re talking about.

  • Reply
    Krista
    November 1, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    To me envy grows out of insecurity and unhappiness. I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes while I was reading this post–the part when you talk about blogging from a less than perfect, room with tea cups and Werther’s wrappers around you.

    “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” I think you could substitute envy in here and have essentially the same idea behind it.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    November 1, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    I just wanted to say please dont ever give up your blog!
    Happy Friday from Australia 🙂

  • Reply
    Angie
    November 2, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Great post! Very insightful! Do you mind sharing what types of businesses you have run?

  • Reply
    Shalay
    November 7, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    You’re so awesome!!! I loved this post!! One of those kick me in the butt and motivate me to go out and do something different than I’ve been doing!! Thanks Elena! I needed this today! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jan
    November 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I came across your site for the first time and it’s great and full of informative posts. Thank you.

    I read this one and I must say that I feel that experiencing envy is normal and is healthy so long as it doesn’t keep you paralyzed from doing what you want to do on your own (which I’m sure you mentioned in one of the comments).

    Having said that, at the end you mentioned that all you basically need is a plan, passion and determination. I’m sure you know that’s not the case. I think it all comes down to luck.

    I am an American-born citizen and grew up here with with immigrant, working-class parents. I was actually set up for disaster but I got lucky and ended up going to a good university. I got lucky and found good jobs, none of which had to do with my college degree (sociology). I was living in San Francisco in my own apartment, paying my own high rent. I traveled the world (about 20 countries on three other continents) on my own dime. I didn’t need a man to do anything for me because, quite frankly, everything I got was all pure luck.

    Being born here in America was all luck. I got lucky. I think about women in other countries who can’t even come here (or if they do, they have to marry someone they meet on the internet to become a citizenship which is complete fraud) and I feel sorry for them because they don’t/didn’t have the same opportunities I do.

    While on one of my many travels (that I again paid for on my own because I was an independent woman), I ended up meeting an adorable tech geek in in London, who ended up becoming my husband. That only added to my own luck because he was obviously doing well for himself. While I love him, he also happens to be a genius and was one of those child prodigy types. That was pure luck for him.

    I’m sure that people who clean out sewers, scrub toilets, wait tables, do alterations, etc are people who work “as hard” as us but I can bet that we are probably more comfortable than most of them and well, most Americans. It’s a little unfair. There is no real correlation between income and hard work.

    There are many people who “envy” us and I don’t blame them.

    But to automatically assume that hard work is how someone has become wealthy is a bit erroneous.

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