I Understand if You Hate Me

In a previous post I mentioned we live near the beach. Yes, it’s a good as you might imagine. We don’t live here all the time. Here’s how we got here. Many years back we started coming to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to camp on the beach. We loved it here. There is something about the salt water environment that speaks directly to the soul. So, we camped and after our kids were born, we camped with kids and after we got older and more spoiled, we rented beach cottages for a week and lived like kings and queens compared to camping.

So, year after year we’d come for one precious week of sun and fun and family togetherness. Then we got a brilliant idea. Why not make a lot of money  ruin the whole vacation paradise by opening a seasonal business here? So we opened an Italian Ice (water ice for those readers from the Phila. area) and ice cream shop, open from May to September. The whole family worked, even our two youngest who were about 11 and 12. Did we see the beach much anymore? Not so much. But we loved the experience and stayed in business for many years. Our kids learned myriad lessons about responsibility, dealing with the public, running a business and getting along in the world. We know working in our store had a big part in  forming the wonderful beings they now are.

After our kids grew up and couldn’t continue working all summer in the store we sold it. That presented a dilemma. Could we justify living here all summer when we didn’t have a business here? We had another business which could travel with us so we could work while we were here but could we really be people who live at the beach just for… FUN?

Spoiler alert. Yes.

We come every summer to live here. Our kids come for about a month. We all work other jobs but manage to make time to be who we once were… a family communing in paradise. We are endlessly grateful for being here. We share it with friends who are always invited to come and stay with us and many do. We have no idea what we did to deserve this lovely life but we’re pretty happy about it.

Our dysfunctional siblings have never been happy about it. It may be part of the reason why they are so dysfunctional I had to write my book about them! They have long referred to our annual move as our “extended vacation,” despite the fact that for ten years it was work and not vacation and despite the fact they’ve been invited many times to stay with us. (Given they don’t really work, their whole lives are extended vacation but I’ll overlook that for now. And, yes, before the whole family fell apart, they did come to enjoy a free beach vacation more than once.) I understand their reaction because: 1. They don’t care about us and 2. They’re jealous, not necessarily about where we live but about how happy we are wherever we are. So, they’ve repeatedly tried to hurt us in order to act out their frustrations about their lives. I get it, I really do. I understand envying my life; it’s pretty good.

What can you do if parts of your life are worth envying? (Because even my good life isn’t completely perfect, after all.) Be grateful and do what you can to continually earn what it is you have. But what about the people who resent your good life? What can you do to reach out to them? I’m not sure about the answer to that one. Haters gonna hate, I suppose. I just try not to be one of them. Envy is tough. We’ve all experienced it. We look at people who have what we don’t have or achieve what we’ve failed to achieve and maybe we’re even happy for them but we’re envious too. I know I’d envy another writer’s success with perhaps a huge book advance or a best seller on Amazon or even a blog with 10,000 followers. I don’t think it makes us bad people to envy. Maybe envy can even motivate us to work harder. What makes us bad people is acting out of envy in an attempt to hurt the ones we are envious of. I think this is a very important topic for parents to discuss with children. Explain to them, yes, you will feel envious of others but that is not a bad thing. What matters is how you react to that jealousy. You feel what you feel but you get to choose your reaction to the emotion and that is where you have power.

What do you do to fight the green-eyed monster when it strikes you? Is there anyone you envy? Have you ever told anyone you envy them? I never have but I think maybe I should.

Meanwhile, here’s your moment worth envy. I suggest you take a one-minute mental vacation imagining yourself here. It could help!

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18 thoughts on “I Understand if You Hate Me

  1. I can’t envy you because I’m in the process of moving to the beach myself. My business too is mobile and after making the proper inquiries, everything’s in place and I move next week. My daughter is already there and has a good job. This has been a process of positive intention for a long time and the universe is suddenly open.

    No, I’ve never told anyone I was jealous, I always felt it was something I had to deal with. But I do find the things I use to be envious of, I’m now glad I don’t have them.,

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  2. You’re going to love living at the beach every bit as much as you imagine! Especially when summer’s over! Enjoy. I too find what I once envied I’m now relieved not to have in my life!

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  3. I think everyone envies someone occasionally–that’s only natural. I think if you’re envious to the point of obsession, then that’s something else. As you say, sometimes envy might make someone work harder or change course so that he/she can have those things, look that way, or whatever.

    Your beach time sounds wonderful! We haven’t even make it to the beach (down the Shore ;), this summer yet. But there are lots of other things going on, so maybe some people would be envious of me for those things.

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  4. Is there a difference between envy and jealousy? I think so. I recently gave a friend a few stalks from my orchids out on the patio. She phoned me a day or so later to say she was very jealous of me that I could grow these beautiful plants. I think she’s more envious than jealous. Jealousy I think is green-eyed and poisonous, envy slightly mellower. But yes, some are jealous/envious to the point of destruction of any happiness others may have and they send slanty-eyed vibes. Interesting post thank you Debby.

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  5. Really good question you pose. Envy vs. jealousy? I agree, it’s a difference in shades of green. 🙂 (Couldn’t resist the plant metaphor/pun) I also agree jealousy is likely the more destructive of the two. It gets really sticky when the jealousy is between siblings. Worst case scenario, I think. BTW, I am also envious of your ability to get those orchids to grow beautifully.

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  6. I’ve always had some fantasies about traveling the world. I envy folks who do this so graciously. And then we plan a vacation. And I fuss over everything…the accommodations, the road travel, the air connections, what to pack, what not to pack, how long to stay, who to get to look after the house,do I need to know the language, what about the $$ system, will I feel safe if I go alone (my husband never has these fantasies). etc etc etc. So maybe when it comes right down to it, I should keep it in the dream stage and travel vicariously !!

    I do love the beach, feel connected to the ocean, but I freckle, burn and peel, so I’m never out during the hot part of the day. The mountains are usually a safer bet for me. ☺ Happy that you had a chance to share these summer blessings with your family. Birth families…another story. Let them go !! 💕 Van

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  7. I’m jealous of your line: “You feel what you feel but you get to choose your reaction to the emotion and that is where you have power.” That is some good stuff right there.

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  8. There will always be those who are jealous; a different word than envy. Jealousy stems from an unhappiness within oneself which inadvertently creates the feelings of ‘green eyed monster’, almost like a built up resentful feeling.
    Beautiful photo Deb. But I still prefer the desert and mountains. 🙂

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    1. Jealousy is a sickness in its own right, I believe. As to the natural beauty, it’s funny. I was always a woods and mountains person. But then life and work circumstances brought us to the beach and I fell in love.

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      1. That’s what makes us all unique. I think we all have a place that resonates with our comfort zone. The place that holds good memories and makes us feel at home. Whether it be the ocean, desert, mountains or anywhere else, it’s about where we feel our calm. 🙂

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  9. Envy is not always bad. as you mentioned, it can be a motivation force to push ourselves become better. I’ts hard to control envy completely, i have doubt if there’s any human can 100% do it. I think it’s ok to envy, as long as we don’t do bad things to hurt others in order to create false self-confidence. I’ve seen so many, even very successful / professionals who always want to win over others, they are constantly compare themselves with others and put people down, demean or gossiping in order to maintain their self-worth. That’s disgusting and i never respect this kind of people.

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  10. I have three brothers and I always used to love going to the beach as a family, our parents way off in the distance behind us as we climbed over rocks and rolled down sand dunes and splashed in the icy cold British waters. Thanks for your post, it brought back good memories!

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