I read it, and it immediately made me uneasy. Something about it didn't feel right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I should have felt flattered, but instead I felt the opposite. It wasn't a mean comment. It wasn't written in a malicious tone. I'm sure it was even intended to make me feel good.
"Lindsey I'm so jealous of your life. You're so lucky."
Over the years I've received multiple comments and messages basically saying the same thing. People tell me they're jealous of the way I live and the things I "get to" do. They say how I'm so lucky. They wish they could be me.
Every single one of those comments rubbed me the wrong way, even though they were intended to be positive. After thinking about it, I finally realized why I'm SO uncomfortable when people say they're jealous of my life.
1) You are only seeing half of my story on social media.
I totally understand how people could look at my social media and think, "Wow she is so lucky." People see the incredible highlights on Instagram and Facebook, but they don't see the sleepless nights, long hours, and hard choices it takes to get there. I fly around the country photographing couple's love stories. People see that. They don't see every time I've sat in front of the computer going over and over an edit that isn't quite right instead of having dinner with my husband. People see Andrew and I traveling to new places all the time and automatically assume we're rich. They don't see us sacrificing "normal" things (like cable, shopping, nice clothes, expensive cars..) in order to prioritise and make those dreams a reality. People see we've moved to Hawaii. Here's the reality of paradise: Two weeks after we got here, Andrew had to leave for work, and will keep doing so while we live here for months at a time. I've had to adjust to "paradise" by myself, knowing hardly anyone, while trying to buy a house, make new friends, and get accustomed to a place I've never been before. Still jealous? It's all perspective.
2) It implies I've done nothing to make this life happen.
Saying that I'm lucky implies that my life just happened to me, and I've done nothing to intentionally create it this way. The opposite is true. There are sacrifices that must be made to live the way Andrew and I do. There's a lot of hard work behind the scenes people don't understand. Being an entrepreneur looks reaaaallly pretty online, but in real life it's a game of risk. It's hours and hours of learning as you go and faking it until you make it. Entrepreneurship didn't just happen upon me. I intentionally chose to take the risk and give it my all. People often don't understand the incredible amount of work it takes to choose a path most people don't. There's been so many times of uncertainty, of feeling like a failure, of crying into my husband's shoulder when a bride goes in "another direction," but I truly believe in the phrase "Dreams don't work unless YOU do." For every tough hurdle I've had to jump as an entrepreneur, I'm so happy I chose to do something with my life that fires me up and makes me passionate. I wouldn't change that for the world.
3) It encourages the subconscious thought, "I am not enough."
Look I get it. Every day we are bombarded with feeds: beautiful images and words from other people's lives, and we're automatically holding them up to our own lives and comparing. But guys, telling someone else you're jealous of their life means you're unsatisfied in some way with your own. And this happens so often without us even knowing it. Have you ever been here? You're scrolling instagram casually when you stumble upon the cutest photo EVER. You click over the the person's account and immediately turn into that heart-eye-emoji. Though after scrolling for awhile and double clicking like crazy you start to slowly feel that deep sinking in the pit of your stomach. Jealousy. Your thoughts move from "Woah, they are SUCH a cute couple," to "Their marriage is totally better than mine." From "Her swimsuit is SO cute!" to "I'll never have a thigh gap like her." Does any of this sound familiar at all? Cause I'm speaking PURELY from experience.
We have got to stop comparing our lives to other people, because it only invites the lie in: we are not enough and will never be enough. Because YOU ARE ENOUGH. Instead of focusing on someone else's life, start thinking of all the things you DO have. Think of something to be thankful for each day. Even if it's small, doing this every day will retrain your mind to not live out of lack, but out of fullness and joy.
4) It doesn't empower you to build a life YOU love.
I'm going to end this with some tough love for you, and I'm partly saying this to myself because I've fallen in the jealousy trap SO many times. Are you jealous someone has something you don't? Chances are they didn't just randomly get whatever that is. They worked their butt off to get it. You want the same things they have? Do the tough work to make it happen. Are you unhappy with where your life is right now? Change it. Put one foot in front of the other, and start moving. Stop making excuses. Stop wishing you had someone else's life, and put that energy toward building up your own. Every day we sit behind a screen wishing we lived a different life is a day wasted on making our heart dreams a reality. So go out and start doing.
I want to end this post with one of my favorite quotes from the ultimate girl boss, Shonda Rhimes.
"I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing. The dreamers. They stare at the sky and they make plans and they hope and they talk about it endlessly. And they start a lot of sentences with "I want to be ..." or "I wish." Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change."
So please friend, don't tell me you wish you had my life. Because you? You have the power to be what no one else in this entire world can be: YOU. You are unique, with gifts and talents I don't possess. You have the power to change this world in YOUR brilliant, beautiful way. Find your passion. Find the thing God made you to do. Find the thing where your talents collide with making the world a better place. Now go out and chase it down like there's no tomorrow.
Lindsey Roman is an adventurous, destination wedding and intimate elopement photographer based out of Oahu, Hawaii and available worldwide. She lives for outdoor adventures, intimate moments, and candid images. Her style is raw, passionate, and authentic. She believes in chasing sunsets, laughing too hard, and most importantly: capturing genuine moments that evoke feeling over perfectly posed photographs.