The One Emotion That Will Always Bring You Down. Guaranteed.

Posted by Dani on March 11, 2014

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (
It will make you less. Stop you in your tracks. Keep you from reaching your potential. Make you sad and frustrated and unhappy, and keep you small. Diminish anything good that happens to you. Guaranteed.

You’ll have to bear with me here as I try to make my point. Read on through to the end, and you’ll see where I’m going.

Always Say Yes To Paris (

I have always been a big traveller. I have been to all kinds of beautiful places – Paris, Rome, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Fiji, etc. etc. In the old days, I did the backpacking thing, sleeping in flea-infested guest houses for $10 a day or less. These days, thanks to my husband, it’s gone way upscale. You see, he’s Mr. Million Miles, and if you hang around him you’re treated like gold. Or diamond.

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

If you’re not married to Mr. Super Elite, you might not know that the more miles you have, the more perks get thrown at you. We have been escorted past mile-long security lineups. I’ve had people waiting for me at the end of a flight to walk me through the airport to make sure I make my connecting flight. And no matter what kind of great freebies we earn with points, they always add crazy upgrades. Rick has had my entire Italian family bumped into first class. Travelling with him is a bit like being a celebrity.

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

Now before you get all I-want-to-be-that-fancy-pants-blogger on me, I have to point out that all of this is earned by him being away. A lot. He’s away when the washing machine blows up, when the girls come home excited about something, when I’ve got a problem and I need a friend. It’s not easy on me, on him, or on the girls. These points are a perk earned with blood, sweat, and tears. And don’t forget the rest of my life is pretty plain Jane. But that’s not the point of this particular post, so let’s get back to the fun stuff.

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

The other week we pulled the youngest out of school and headed to Mexico for a family holiday during reading week. We booked a room at the Hilton on points. The General Manager was emailed ahead of our arrival, and we were upgraded to a massive suite. For free. Two giant balconies. Hot Tub. Semi-private elevator. Etc., etc. This was one of our balconies:

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

All given to us for free.

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

The pool:

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

The view from my beach chair:

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

You get the picture.

The girls were happy, and we were all relaxed. We hung out together and played euchre. I spent most days on the beach and stared at the Pacific Ocean. Occasionally my husband would bring me a drink and tell me I was beautiful. This was my day.

And to top it off, while we were sitting on the beach one day, we booked a mother-daughter trip for the youngest and myself to go to London. The one in England. We are going this Friday. Free hotel, free flight. Again.

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

Pretty lucky, right?

Stay with me here, I am just about to make my point.

One day, I took out my phone and caught up on my blog reading. It so happened that a couple of my blog friends had something very cool happen to them that week, and as I read about these stories, it started to creep up on me.

That feeling. Just a sneaky whisper at first, but steadily becoming a dull roar.

Not jealousy, because I was very happy for them. It was more a feeling that I didn’t have enough. You could call this envy, I suppose, but that’s not quite the right word. It was more a feeling of LACK. Other people were getting more of whatever. Their lives were fabulous, successful, happy. I wanted what they had. All the amazingness I was surrounded by sort of took a back seat.


On this breathtaking beach, with my happy family, beside my amazing girls – I felt bad.

How sad is that?

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

Generally I make an effort to be grateful for what I have. But show me some instagram pics of someone who’s gorgeous, or talented, or fun, or happy, or successful, and part of me wants to be THEM. Not me. Them.

The gratitude I’ve tried so carefully to cultivate fades away, and it’s like everything precious that I have been given just evaporates. I don’t even SEE what I have.

This feeling is like poison. The feeling of wanting what others have, because it’s much better than what you have. Of only seeing what’s missing, not what’s already there. That what you have is just not good enough.  That there is more you need, and always something else to want.

Because, believe me, even though this trip was pretty magical, my life is not all sunshine and roses. I have issues, and challenges, and disappointments, just like in any life. But why do those things overshadow the precious things I do have?


The opposite of this negative feeling is gratitude, and we’ve all heard in recent years about the power of this emotion. Even Oprah, who has reached the pinnacle of success and has just about everything you could ever want, writes in her gratitude journal because she needs to practice gratitude. It’s uplifting and empowering and makes you glow from the inside out. And ripples of this positive attitude reach out to brighten up whoever happens to be around you.

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (

But even a little bit of envy stomps on it and keeps it down. It stomps on you and keeps you down.

I remember sitting on that beach, and thinking to myself, “Dani, what’s wrong with you? JUST LOOK AROUND.”

And I realized that about a million people would envy me, and here I am envying others. It’s just a horrible downward spiral.

I snapped myself out of it pretty quick this time. But it’s been on my mind a little since then. The joy-sucking power of wanting what other people have. The life-diminishing effect of feeling you want more. Even when you have too much.


Guranteed to erase all that’s precious, deflate your potential, and wipe out all the seeds of awesomeness that are waiting to blossom in your future.

I’ll be working on this, even though it can be a tricky thing. I’m not even sure how to change that feeling when it starts to show up. I do think that gratitude will have to play a big part. It seems to be the antidote to just about any kind of negative feeling. And sometimes, I have a cesspool of negativity happening inside.

I’ll be building my gratitude pile with a giant shovel. Wish me luck.

The One Emotion Guaranteed To Bring You Down (




Have a look a some of my other travel posts: my Paris apartment, Europe In The Winter, Harrods Food Halls, Austrian Hearts, and London’s Theatre District.

45 Responses to “The One Emotion That Will Always Bring You Down. Guaranteed.”

  1. Tara says:

    Dani – this is a fantastic post. And it’s coming at a perfect time for me. I try my very best not to compare myself to others. I am so incredibly lucky – I have a beautiful family, a supportive and loving husband, and lots of other things -material and otherwise – that many don’t have.

    And yet, sometimes I get myself down with that envy. I see what others are doing – and I want it.

    I have to remind myself to be grateful. So many good things are all around me. I need to savour them.

    I think that going to Mexico and London in the same month is incredible! I can’t wait to see pictures of your adventures!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Tara. I was a little (OK, a lot) hesitant to publish. It makes me feel really bad that I feel this way, and a little embarrassed even. I think wanting more can be a good thing that keeps us growing and expanding. But it’s tricky to find the right balance. I’m hoping gratitude can help me out with this. I think it’s especially challenging for people who hang out a lot on line, like bloggers, because we are surrounded by so many people putting out their best stuff. Lots to learn for me here!

  2. Bravo to you for writing about “this feeling”. WE ALL HAVE IT!! XO

    I think writing about it will truly help. When I get this feeling I try to remember, that we all blog for different reasons. Some blog as their full time job, some blog to journal, and some blog just for the fun of it. That’s me! 🙂 Enjoy London with your daughter, Dani. What a great opportunity!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks so much for your comments Tanya. I do think writing about it helps. It helps also to hear that other people feel the same way. Just being human, I guess!

  3. This must have been a difficult post to write, putting your emotions out for all to see. But, good for you!! And good luck building your pile with that shovel…it sounds like you have so much to be grateful for, hopefully it won’t take you long. Your daughters, your husband, your travels…and even just the time at home can be something to be grateful for.
    Best wishes and have a great time in London.
    Debbie 🙂

    • Dani says:

      Thanks for your comments Debbie. There is certainly so much to be grateful for. And I agree that the simple things are really special too, like spending time at home with your family. Those are often my favourite days! And I am so looking forward to this trip with my “baby” – I know we will make many great memories.

  4. Kara says:

    So true and so beautifully written! I have had those moments too. It is wonderful that you were able to pinpoint the emotion and turn it around with gratitude 🙂

    • Dani says:

      Thanks Kara! It wasn’t too hard to turn the negativity boat around when I was surrounded by all that amazingness. But on an ordinary day it can be trickier! Working on it, though 🙂

  5. Wow, just wow!!!! This post has really hit me, because I am, every day clawing, gripping and fighting to keep gratitude in my head at the front of all thoughts EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It’s becoming part of my personality, who I am. I’ve always been a bit of a positive thinker, annoyingly so, but now I am stepping up my game and making it a practice of choosing gratitude in all I do, think, say… every day! I must share with you that my life in the last 2 years has been, lets say hellish and I finally decided for sanity’s sake that gratitude is the ultimate answer, the key to all happiness, the ONLY thing that cuts through bullshit! I LOVE living vicariously through your adventures, 100% honestly do! You are a hero to some my friend, I can’t wait to some day meet you! <3

    • Dani says:

      Awww Laurie, thank you so much! You’re comments are always so uplifting. And I have incredible admiration for the way you always seem to keep a positive attitude, and spread that around. You’re so right – I think gratitude is the only answer. And it does take practice, in my case lots of practice! Maybe you can be my gratitude mentor 😉

  6. Andrea says:

    Dani I have tears. I am SO with you on the traveling husband thing. And the comparisons suck. Always. And truthfully that’s part of the reason I started blogging, to force myself to regularly prove that I could accomplish something good and create something that was worthwhile. And look around me at all the amazing things I had to write about. And maybe that’s what other bloggers feel to or maybe not, but it helps me. Thanks for publishing this post. K longest comment I’ve ever written :).

    • Dani says:

      Andrea, I relate to so much of what you said, more than you can imagine. I’ve only realized lately how hard it has been on me to have Rick gone so much. I always thought I was handling it fine, but now I’m not so sure. Blogging has been awesome for me in some ways, but challenging too because I often feel inadequate. But I try hard to pull myself back from all this negative thinking. I have so much that is precious and beautiful, and it is taking some work not to lose sight of that. And thanks so much for giving me your longest comment 😉

  7. Shauna says:

    Love your honesty. I think we’ve all been at the point where we should be grateful, but instead only see what’s wrong with something. I keep a gratitude journal, too, and it has helped so much. Wow, I didn’t realize we have that much in common. My husband travels a tonne for work as well and we get the royal treatment. Nice having access to those lounges and stuff, eh? I remind my husband all the time to appreciate it because the travel will eventually end and so will super elite status!

    • Dani says:

      Actually I love the travel perks! And I know we only have them for a limited time – another thing to be grateful for! I tend to see the negative, so I will have to really force myself to shift perspective. If I could actually convince myself to journal, I think a gratitude journal would really help.

  8. Wow Dani – what an amazing and awesome post. Thanks for writing it. I think we’re all guilty of envy, and forgetting to be grateful – I know I am.
    Kudos for having the courage to write about it, and hopefully it will inspire those that read it to try to be more thankful for all that they have – I know I’m going to try harder to do that!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks so much Michelle. I did hesitate to hit publish, being a bit of a chicken about opening up! But I’m trying to change a bit, and it is heartening to hear that other people can relate. Makes me feel better for sure! Thanks so much for your comment, it means a lot.

  9. Thea says:

    Hi Dani! This is brilliant and so well written! I love how you brought the reader along so beautifully to fully understand your main idea. I share the same sentiments as you! I learned a long time ago not to get jealous of others because it is such a wasted emotion. I also learned to never compare because you never know what is really going on behind the scenes. Everyone has a story that we don’t know about. I make a point of saying thank you silently in my mind several times a day for even the smallest things. Although I do get frustrated and defeated sometimes but then try to move on! I am lucky that my husband comes home every night from work and I have been able to travel a fair bit, although not with all of the perks. I am very grateful for your bloggy friendship and support!

    • Dani says:

      Thank you so much Thea for your kind and uplifting words. Your comment really means a lot to me. I think you are very wise in your attitude and my brain knows it is bang on, and the best way to look at life. It is this OTHER part of me, the smaller unwise part, that I need to work on. Your words are so true and I am working on cultivating that attitude for myself. I like your idea of saying silent thank-yous in your mind. A friend once told me that every time she crossed the threshold into her home, she paused for a moment to be thankful for having such a beautiful home to call her own. Pretty powerful! And thanks again for always having something so positive to say – very inspiring.

  10. Randa @ TBK says:

    I don’t think it’s a bad thing to always want more, it’s all about how we go about it. It helps us set goals for the future 🙂

    • Dani says:

      Very good point, Randa. It’s very motivational to want more. It’s just about finding the right balance. Thanks for dropping in.

  11. Hey Dani, little miss fancy pants – we stayed at that resort in Mexico and saw people lounging on that same balcony… we even mused about what kind of people got such luxury accomodations… funny, eh?

    And, I knew from the name of your post that it would be envy that you would write about… well done! It does go to show that we can never judge others by what we see, because there is always a story that plays out in the background that we don’t see…

    We tend to look at what others seem to have making up some story about the sunshine and roses and forgetting that there is always another side.

    Thank you for sharing your story in such frank honesty. Your posts are always personable and it always feels like you are talking to me personally as friends do.

    I will be visiting your other travel posts and pinning them as well! Take care! Looking forward to your next post, as always.

    • Dani says:

      HA Karen that’s so funny! Now you know the secret to getting the luxury rooms – send the hubby out on the road! Your words are very true, Karen. Someone once told me the problem is that we are comparing our insides to other people’s outsides. No win situation, right? I’m definitely a work in progress with these things. Thanks again for your comment and kind words. xo

  12. Natalie says:

    Dani, wow. So well said. And funny enough, I got towards the end of your post and thought to myself: “Why didn’t I think of this? Why didn’t I post something like this?”. Crazy right? In reading your post about envy, and the need to feel more gratitude for what we have and who we are, I was completely agreeing with you AND completely envious at the same time (yes of your trips but I mean more of the fact that you posted about this emotion…).

    So now that I have taken a few seconds to breath, I have reread it and realize how much I need to adopt gratitude in my life. As bloggers in particular, this is tough. Everyone looks so beautiful, so smart, so creative, so talented… it feels like we can never measure up. I’m constantly trying to assess why I blog. I have to hang on to simple pleasures that it brings me and stop comparing myself to others all the time… easier said than done. But the next time big bad envy comes around, I’ll be back to read this post!

    Thank you my friend,

    • Dani says:

      Wow, that is very insightful. It really is a never-ending spiral isn’t it? I think bloggers are faced with it more than most people. Being a blogger is like living next door to a gorgeous, smart, talented, amazing woman who can do it all, except 10,000 of them! No wonder we get down on ourselves. This is a big challenge, and a big opportunity to face down our envy monsters. Imagine how much stronger our girls will be if we can figure this out and then inspire them. That way, not only will your girls be fabulously dressed, but very wise too 😉 xo

  13. Jenn says:

    Great post! WE all experience it whether we want to admit it or not! As long as you don’t act on those feelings and return to appreciating what you have, you are still human! Enjoy what you have today for it could be gone tomorrow!

    • Dani says:

      That’s a really good point, Jenn – we’re only human, right? It’s all about enjoying today and figuring it out the best we can. Thanks for dropping by.

  14. Great post, Dani! And clearly it has struck a chord with many. Current change is part of the gratitude struggle for me – the change I’m making right now is challenging me every single day to buck up and be grateful, and to look ahead, not over my shoulder. I think being aware is the first step, being honest is the second, and embracing gratitude is the journey. Thanks for the honesty and reminder to stay the gratitude course!!!

    • Dani says:

      Very wise words Sheila. I think if we get through challenging times, we are always stronger for it. It’s nice to talk about it, so we know others are facing similar struggles. Good luck with staying the course. I’ll be working on that too.

  15. mara says:

    I think it’s a huge challenge to remember to show gratitude and not just want what everyone else has. The first step is recognizing it, that’s for sure, though. I also think there’s a difference between jealousy (coveting) and envy, which might drive you to achieve and push towards new goals. Something to think about anyways…

    • Dani says:

      Good thoughts, Mara. I think there is always a positive side to everything, so in this case the desire for more really motivates us to push ourselves. I just think it’s about finding the right balance. And I’m not too sure if the words jealousy or envy are right on. For me it’s a feeling that I’m inadequate or my life is somehow inadequate – that’s the part I don’t like. Lots to think about and figure out!

  16. Hannah says:

    It’s so true. I just looked through my instagram and blog looking at my life as if through someone else’s eyes. Very interesting because blogs, stories etc, they don’t really tell the full story, BUT it’s soooo hard to remember that. I have definitely felt LACK recently. I needed to read this post, so thank you.


    • Dani says:

      I think it’s the feeling of lack that gets me down most of all. And it seems I can always find something more I need or want, so the lack is never ending. That’s what I’d like to put a stop to. It’s debilitating! Thanks so much for dropping by.

  17. Meredith says:

    First of all, I am SO jealous of your trips! But not the time away from your husband, I don’t know if I could do that- even with the perks of trips!

    With that being said, I TOTALLY understand what you mean. There will always be someone who has it better, looks prettier, just overall feels better than you do that day. It sucks, but it’s life I suppose. One of my favourite quotes as of late has been ‘Comparison is the theif of joy’ because it is SO true. We need to compare less, and appreciate more!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks so much for your comment. Great quote, that is so true! Now the trick is to actually go out and do that. These days, with seeing so much of other peoples’ lives on the internet, I think it’s harder than it was years ago. So much to compare myself to! I’ll be working on it for sure.

  18. Hmmm, what do they say, “the grass always look greener on the other side of the fence”. I know what you mean though and I envy YOU sitting there on that warm beach. I think we should just be happy with what we’ve got, right now – no more and no less! Thanks and hugs Dani!

    • Dani says:

      So very true Heather! The best thing is to be happy where we are, and look forward to great things ahead, without comparing yourself to other people. A little easier said than done sometimes, but I’m definitely working on it!

  19. Rossana says:

    You are not alone in how you feel, we all feel that at times. We forget to be grateful for what we have and sometimes feel we need or want more. We all have to learn to be more grateful and celebrate what we have as much as possible. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

    • Dani says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Rossana. So much truth in that! It’s something I’ll be focusing on for myself – I’m a work in progress 😉

  20. great post Dani. I think talking about it is very helpful anytime we’re overwhelmed by a nagging feeling like this one. Acknowledging it and owning it. I have a fantastic life with a marriage that I know lots of people are envious of, but on the flip side I am crazy envious of people who have “normal” families and don’t have to send their children to their ex every other weekend.
    There’s always something, it’s completely normal.

    Enjoy what you have to the best of your ability but don’t be afraid to wish or want for better in other areas. It’s human nature.

    • Dani says:

      So very true Angie – there is always something that looks better out there. It is human nature to have these feelings, I’d just like to find a better balance. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone, and that’s a shame. Something to work on!

  21. It’s so true! No matter how green your grass is, the grass is always greener somewhere else. It’s so hard to be content and grateful with what you have. Good post!

    • Dani says:

      Thanks Kathryn! I think this is something that many people feel, at least some of the time. I just find some people have a much better way of looking at things, and that’s what I’m working on. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  22. Beautiful, honest post. Have you seen the Soul Pancake video about the science of happiness and an experiment in gratitude? It’s a fabulous one. It brought me to tears. Here is the link:

    You are an incredible blogger. Someone that I look up to. We will all have our blogging moment in the sun. Mwah! Your trips look amazing.

    • Dani says:

      Thanks so much Crystal, I’ve had one of those “trying (unsuccessfully) to do it all” days, and your comment really gave me a lift! I will definitely check out that video. Not that I need any more reason to cry – I even cry at commercials, I’m such a sap! xo.

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