My commute is a short ten-minute walk, down a very busy and crowded Chicago street. I’m fortunate enough to see hundreds of people in my short journey, including many women, of course.
Only rarely do I see someone who’s appearance is generally envy-provoking. Most days, I’m more than happy with what I’m wearing, and with how I look, overall. But on the occasions when I’m beginning to feel my eyes turning green, I try to turn that unproductive and generally unbecoming sensation into a chance to learn something.
Overall, if you really envy someone, the fundamental question has to be “why?”.
- If it’s someone half your age, with the body of an Olympic gymnast:
- This is both a lesson in learning to accept your age, and a reminder to get up off of your… chair… and get to the gym. The goal is unachievable, but reasonable effort toward fitness will make you much more accepting of your own body.
- If it’s someone wearing something obviously expensive:
- Why does price matter so much to you? Could you achieve the same look for less money, or is the money what it’s really about? Remember, the object you’re coveting could be painful debt for that person. It could have been a gift, or purchased second-hand, or (horror of horrors) counterfeit. If you ultimately can’t shake this covetousness, it’s time to look for a much better job, or a gut-level reevaluation of your priorities.
- Is it someone with a brand-new outfit?
- Is it the newness? Or is it that you feel the need for novelty? There are more paths to stimulation and excitement in life than shopping…
- But if it’s a look that you could wear well, which would be flattering on you, and work well in your wardrobe, THIS could be a real idea for a future purchase. Jot down a note, and when you get home, in front of your closet, determine if this particular outfit (or just an item in the outfit) is an effective upcoming purchase for you.
- It is an outfit put together particularly well?
- THIS is a great possible lesson. Make a note of what catches your eye, and when you get home, see if you can replicate the look with things you already own. Most of the time, it’s not the pieces themselves that are particularly amazing, as much as it’s just someone else’s spin on how to combine things.
Please note that the idea of envying someone for their appearance, and learning from that envy, is most effective when you’re looking at REAL people, in REAL life settings. Trying to emulate people in magazines, movies, television shows, or on the internet is just a quick way to depress yourself permanently. Can you hire a stylist, a person chef, a personal trainer, and OH YEAH, have yourself Photoshopped constantly? You might as well try to look like the Mona Lisa…