The pain had finally reached a point where I couldn’t stand to live another day.
My heart was about to stop.
After years of being conditioned to believe that getting a job was the most secure thing that I could do, that it was the only way to live – I finally got the call.
‘‘Karim. Pack your things and leave first thing tomorrow’’.
“I’m sorry it had to end this way”.
A long time after that call I was broke and scared.
Alone I would wander the glamorous streets of London thinking about how awesome it would be to have money – to afford the millionaire houses I would pass by so often. At home (more like my matchbox) I would go on Facebook and secretly curse anyone who seemed to have things going for them.
My closest companion was a jealous heart.
And in order to numb the pain, I would take selfies of myself smiling like an idiot just to prove to the world that I was ok. But I wasn’t. And the pain was real.
From selfie to street-walker, that was my life.
Here’s the thing.
We all have those moments in life that tests our limits and defines our character and who we are as a person in regards to how well we react to certain situations.
Cool as a cat and you’re on the right track.
But I was no cat.
In fact, I was more miserable than I had ever been.
And a big part of it was because I bought into the myth that everyone else online was doing remarkable and amazing things with their lives.
I couldn’t see beyond my Facebook feed or my Twitter stream.
I couldn’t understand that once their posts are online, just like me everyone else would go back to their mundane lives, often feeling alone and scared and stuck.
I was too focused on the outside world.
There wasn’t enough focus on me.
And abundance was a word far removed from my brain dictionary.
The truth is that there is no benefit in working the jealousy muscle.
And in a world where anyone can share the best pest part of their lives to hundreds or even thousands of people with the click of a button – it’s easier than ever to fall victim to one of the few emotions that devalues our sense of self-worth.
You are love.
With or without the million dollar house.
Jealousy is an event built on the ruins of ungratefulness.
And for the most part, prevention is better than the cure.
Sure, I still feel this way when I allow myself to see things online.
But I’m getting better.
Much better than I used to be.
And these are some of the things that helped me get there.
Become A Digital Minimalist:
I am not asking you to get rid of all of your possessions or to make the leap from what you are now to a life of zen practices and a minimalist mindset.
I am also not asking you to completely leave social media (that would be too drastic). But there are a few simple steps you can take that will help you to de-clutter your digital lives and make it easier to focus less on what everyone else is doing and more on what you are supposed to be doing with your life.
First, go through all of your social media platforms and look for all of the people that you absolutely have to follow. The people or brands that bring joy and inspiration into your life through the posts that they share.
Find these people and be grateful that you have them in your life.
And once you’ve done that, unfollow anyone else that doesn’t matter.
Out of sight, out of mind.
After going through this process myself, I realised that there were only about five people that I really cared about enough to follow on Facebook.
On Instagram the number was zero.
I only follow one person on Twitter.
And I am only subscribed to a handful of newsletters.
Becoming a digital minimalist will liberate you from the pressures of always being on the look-out of what everyone else is doing – which means that there will be less clutter in your life, and more importantly… less reasons to be jealous of anyone.
Make Hard Work Your Biggest Distraction:
The only reason why you’re online and checking out what everyone else is doing is because you probably have way too much time on your hands.
At the very least, you’re just way too bored and looking for a distraction.
And the best way to fix this situation is by using hard work as a way to distract yourself from everything else that is going on around you. You need to work so hard that you don’t even have the time or energy to even be able to log on.
And the best part is that hard work is the only thing that will propel you to achieve all of the things that you want to achieve. Preparation and lots of preparation.
Browsing news-feeds won’t help you get there.
Find the work that makes your heart go wild and dedicate yourself to the craft.
Create Habits of Gratefulness:
So the next time you see that Seth from college is getting married to Beth and they are both moving into their brand new waterfront property – instead of seeing this as a thing that you don’t have (jealousy) use it as an opportunity to find one thing you actually do have that many others from around the world might not.
That’s amazing. Thank you for sharing.
At least I have a bed to sleep on, as there are billions of people who don’t.
At least I have a brother that I can count on.
A father who always has my back.
A best friend that I can share all of my deepest darkest secrets with.
A wife I love so deeply that life without her wouldn’t be a life worth living.
A waterfront property would be nice, but I already have enough.
A friend once told me that it makes him happy when he sees others in his social circle fail at their jobs and whatever else they are trying to do.
And this is nothing more than a reflection of poor character and a tainted heart.
No one has ever erected a statue in the name of a critic.
Let’s strive far away from becoming that type of person.
Appreciate what you have.
And wish the best for others.
You’ll be a happier person if you do.
Do Everything Wrong:
Because if you stick with it long enough, eventually you’ll get everything right.
And understand that it’s ok to feel this way, that you aren’t weird or strange or different or a bad person. We all go through this, it’s just how we’re wired.
By taking responsibility we are making ourselves aware of our shortcomings and in turn we are enabling ourselves to fix the parts of ourselves that are broken.
To fix the part of ourselves that find it hard to be grateful.
Because we will never be free unless we can learn to loosen up our dependance.
Avoid blaming everyone else for your shortcomings, and learn to make the changes that you want to make in your own life. No one will do this for you.
Not your parents.
Not your spouse.
Not your friends.
And you are already enough.
And once you’ve done this, you’ll realise that you can focus more on…
Simplicity and Humbleness.
Because the more you can be grateful for the things you don’t have, even if you have very little – the better you’ll understand that you already have enough.
And that my friends, is how life works.
What goes up always comes back down.
Karma is your greatest asset.
And the most important decision you will ever make in your life, is the decision that you will make right this very second. Because it’s the only thing that exists.