Envy is an ugly word. No one ever wants to admit they feel it. But sometimes it is irresistible, even if we don’t talk about it to others.
Especially with social media blaring how wonderful and perfect everyone else’s life is, it can be easy to slip into the feeling that our lives might be better if we were someone else.
Sometimes I struggle with this when looking at other bloggers who have “made it.” I think: what have I been doing for the past three years while all these other people have been building successful businesses?
Then I remember my one golden weapon against envy: I remind myself that I don’t actually want to be that person. In order to have that specific person’s level and extent of success at this moment in time, I would have to be them.
Not that I can’t be just as successful as anyone else, but stick with me.
I think of that person’s life, and although I am happy for them to have that life, I realize that I actually like my own life. I like being me! And if I had to do some weird version of the show Wife Swap to have everything they have, I wouldn’t want it.
This works for me every time. I might not think of it right away and therefore may wallow for a few minutes or hours, but as soon as I remember that I don’t want to be someone else, the envy feeling completely dissolves.
One Step Further
While this thought can bring me out of the dark space of envy in no time, there is one more game I play in my mind before moving on for good. I look at said person I wished I was as good as just moments ago, and I start to go through in my mind how they aren’t necessarily better than me.
I used to do this when I was still single and desperately envious of anyone in a relationship (shortly before I met my person). First, I realized that I didn’t want her specific man anyway. Then, I started to think that while yes she is pretty, smart, funny, talented, etc., she is no more pretty, smart, funny, or talented than me. I am just as worthy of love as anyone else.
Same goes for blogging, for me. I look at other bloggers who have made it, or really anyone with a talent, skill, or profession that seems amazing. It could be a yoga teacher, a pop star, someone on Glee. Anyone.
I think of the real person, because everyone is a real person just like me. And I think of what they do on a daily basis. Obviously I don’t know these people, so I kind of fill in the blanks as needed.
I am not judging them or thinking I am better or they are better. I am bringing us to equal ground. No one is better or worse. After spending a minute or so re-considering if I would want their specific life and realizing that I wouldn’t, I hold myself up to the person and see that I have what it takes too (not to be on Glee – I am not talented that way, but you get the point).
Choose Your Thoughts
We all can do whatever it is that we really, really, really want to do just as well as anyone else who has already achieved that status.
Rather than depleting our resources spending time and energy feeling envy towards someone who has what we want (and the subsequent downward spiral of feelings of inadequacy), why not either set them free if they don’t really have something to offer us, or study them as role models, blue prints of what works to get where we want?
That is the ideal scenario. But no one is perfect, and negative feelings are inevitable. Learning how to turn them into something of benefit is a worthwhile practice, because there are so many better feelings to feel than envy.
Please let us know how you feel if you give this a try. If you have other ways of dealing with the envy emotion, please share your thoughts!