“Envy was one of the most potent causes of unhappiness.” ~Bertrand Russell
Everyone feels it. Envy is universal. I can trace my first feelings of envy to my childhood. I grew up with six sisters, each one taller and thinner than I was. On top of that, they all had pretty, long, thick hair. Mine was thin, fine, and unruly. I wore a bra as early as fifth grade. They didn’t need one until high school.
I had a bad case of sister envy. Once, when I was mad at my oldest sister, I actually imagined taking scissors to her long, lovely locks in the middle of the night. Of course, I never did, but I wanted to!
Today, we are good friends. We have each other's back.
Envy is a resentful emotion. I measured my beauty against the beauty of my sisters. I felt inferior and made them superior. I felt ugly on the inside and blamed it on the outside. I was too young to understand.
I now know that envy centers on feelings of not enough, resentment, doubt, scarcity, and longing. With my sisters, I can’t say that I didn’t feel animosity toward them. However, the anguish I felt within was much worse.
Today, my envy lies in comparing myself to other writers or bloggers who have bestsellers, more readers, and more sales than I have. Never mind what they did to get there. My ego wants me to believe they have had an unfair advantage.
Seth Godin, bestselling author, calls the Internet the envy amplifier.
“Used to be that the only Jones you needed to worry about was the one who lived next door. Now, if you choose too, it’s easy to find someone taller, richer, more successful, better liked, with more followers, online friends, connections and endorsements. And certainly it will be someone less deserving than you.”
It’s not natural to be constantly stressed, upset, reactive, envious, and fearful. It’s just as easy to be brave, courageous, and bold. Don’t allow the success of others to hold you back.
8 Tips to Neutralize Your Envy
1. Want what you have.
Aristotle wrote, “Envy is pain at the good fortune of others.” When I feel centered and I’m coming from a place of love, I’m happy for the success of others. However, if I’m not centered, I can easily feel a frantic sense of distress when another blogger has what I want.
Sometimes I take it a step further and wish they didn’t have it either. For me, it’s usually a partnership with a better-known blogger. I only need to remind myself that life isn’t meaningful because of what we have, it’s meaningful because of who we are.
My happiness doesn’t depend on how popular my blog is. My happiness has more to do with who I am, writing well, and serving others.
2. Be grateful for your blessings.
When we are envious of others, we discount what we do have—intrinsic worth, love, family, friends, and more! When I’m feeling envious, I only need to spend more time reveling in the joy of what I have. In that space there is no need for greed.
3. Toot your own horn.
Bolster yourself. Be bold. Give yourself the praise and approval you want from others. Pat yourself on the back. Buy yourself a treat. Take yourself out to dinner. Post your success and accomplishments on social media. Create good times for yourself by celebrating who you are and what you do for others.
4. Put away your measuring stick.
I believe all of our fears fit under these three: I am not enough. I don’t do enough. I don’t have enough. To eliminate fear we need to believe that, “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough!” As we adopt these as our core beliefs, competition and comparison will fall off our radar.
5. Don't get distracted.
If my ego can convince me that others are winning and I am losing, I have an excuse for why I don’t have to try or work hard. Envy and comparison are distractions. I unsubscribe to writers that I’m envious of until I can shift my perception and see things differently.
6. Talk to a friend, coach, or therapist.
If you consistently struggle with envy, seek help and learn how to increase your self-confidence and self-worth.
Envy is something we all feel but we seldom admit it or talk about it. Dr. Phil said, “We can’t erase what we can’t face.” If the Internet exasperated the problem, it’s not going away anytime soon. As a culture, we need to find healthy solutions to this insidious issue.
7. Realize it’s a story.
What story are you telling yourself about your rival? When I’m envious, I feel inferior because I falsely believe that the other person’s possessions or achievements overshadow mine. It’s a harmful story!
When I’m centered, I know that we’re all connected, and that together, we can all use our individual gifts and talents to help heal the world. When I see us all with the same mission, envy evaporates.
8. Take action.
Envy is about fear. Fear that I’m not getting what’s mine. Fear that I’m being left behind. Fear that my work isn’t as important as yours.
The best way to work through your fear is to take action. Choose to be more daring. It’s time to dig deep and connect to your inner genius. The magic lies within your own unique gifts, talents, and journey. When you create from your heart with a loving intention, your work becomes exceptional. Everyone gains.
Life isn’t about what you have and what I do not. Life isn’t about comparison and competition. When we rise above the external rewards and the personal battlefields of our minds, we discover the real meaning of it all.
Our life is a journey of sharing, caring, and making the world a better place for everyone. The rest is just extra!
How do you struggle with envy? What do you need to change?
Photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto