Are you secretly envious of people who seemingly have it all? We all have someone in our lives that always manages to have a seemingly perfect life, and it’s all too natural to start feeling a little envious; our brains are hardwired that way. Fortunately, there is good news, you can use that feeling of envy to inspire and motivate you. Like you, I too suffer from moments of envy. There are three secrets to dealing with that awful feeling you get when you compare yourself to others. But, what if I told you that envy is good? How can envy be good for you?
1. Avoid the Envy Hangover
Our minds are wired to compare ourselves to everyone around us. Can you remember the last time you fell into the trap of comparing yourself to others? Do you remember how it felt? I call these feelings an envy hangover. You look around at everyone else, and from your perspective they appear to be doing so much better than yourself; then you spend the next few hours or even days, as a shadow of your former self. An envy hangover has a few nasty side effects, you feel crap about yourself and your achievements, you procrastinate and don’t get anything done. In these moments, it is crucial that you start to focus on yourself and the goals and dreams that your want to achieve.
The biggest tool that enables this cycle of comparison, envy and low self-worth is the internet. Seth Godin once referred to the internet, as the envy amplifier; and he’s right. We are all bombarded with Instagram pictures, Facebook status updates, and, as a result, we all at times fall prey to comparing our behind the scenes to the highlight reel of another. Social network sharing is channelled through filters, and I am not talking about image filters. We all have filters which help us decide what we want to share publicly and what we do not. For instance, I recently had a romantic weekend with my boyfriend. I shared posts, and pictures of romantic dinners, the yacht hotel we stayed at, as well as ice skating adventures, but what I didn’t share was my mini-meltdown at the poor guy at the Winterville ice skating ring. Looking back over the events, it wasn’t a big deal, nevertheless, I was impatient and I had to wait what seamed like forever, with no shoes on, while the temperature was 3 degrees. No one wants to see a photo or video of that, if I decided to share the experience, it would awkward. It’s not that I want to give off the impression that I have it all together and I’m perfect. It’s just normal. That’s an example of a filter. We only share the highlights. The next time you are feeling a little envious over someone’s never-ending pictures or enticing status updates remember, this is their highlight reel.
Towards the end of last year, I came across a video that was circulating Facebook; the video was titled ‘what’s on your mind?’ it was created by Shawn Hinton, which perfectly illustrates how we can fall into the trap, and, as a result, suffer from an envy hangover.
2. Embrace Envy.
What you resist, persists. – C G Jung
The biggest mistake people make when dealing with negative emotions like envy is, they try to resist or overcome it. Psychiatrist, Carl G Jung said it best, ‘ what you resist, persists.’ The problem with an emotion like envy or jealousy is, we perceive it as a negative emotion that needs to be pacified. Unfortunately, when you try to resist or overcome envy, the more it will stick with you. Non-resistance, is not denial, passivity, or simply choosing not to act; it’s about acknowledgement and perspective. It’s extremely important to starting seeing envy, for what it is, just a feeling, nothing more. Envy is an emotion, and emotions are essential to the human experience. When you take the path of resistance, you are giving all of your power, time, and attention over to a simple feeling of envy; as a result, when you feed an emotion it grows and becomes stronger. Instead of focusing on the achievements of another, and feeling envious. Make a conscious choice to focus upon your own personal achievements or even the actionable steps you can take towards achieving the goal for yourself.
3. Use Envy to Inspire Action.
Envy is often a misunderstood messenger that points out where you are holding back in life, that area where you need to take action. A few months ago made the choice to not continue on with the novel I was writing, the reasoning behind it was logical; it was a fiction novel and did not aid or neatly fit it with my personal development blog and life coaching business. A few weeks ago I was reading the Daily Mail Online and came across a somewhat controversial article about how successful YouTuber, Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella), used a ghostwriter to write her debut novel, Girl Online, as opposed to writing it herself as she claimed on her YouTube channel. I mean no disrespect to Zoe Sugg, but I was so envious. I was crazy jealous. My feelings had nothing to do with the ghost writing or Zoella success, it was more about my decision to cancel a project, that I clearly felt so passionately about. Writing a novel was something I needed to do, and, as a result, it has inspired me to re-write my novels outline, develop character arcs and profiles, then go on to write the first chapter.
I choose to see my envy as a clue that there was something in me that need to be expressed. Allow your moments of envy to guide to where you need to take action in your life. Use envy as a tool to inspire you to take actionable steps towards your personal and business goals. One of the best facts about being envious of the achievements of others is, the fact that they have achieved it means that it can be done, and you can achieve the same or a similar thing for yourself.
As always, insight without action is futile! Firstly, tell me how you are going to implement the frameworks from this article to improve your life or business now. Secondly, How do you deal with envy? Do you have any tips on managing jealousy or envy that you would like to share? I want to hear your story. Please let me know by using the comments box below. Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting with such kindness and enthusiasm.