Envy can be a real pain in the ass.
I’ve heard some people say that envy is good, because it gets you motivated to do great things in life, in order to be better than others. But I don’t really know about that. I find that envy does much more harm than good, and overall it’s something to overcome.
The Perils of Being Envious
First of all, I find this assumption that envy creates motivation to enhance your life to be severely flawed. In my coaching I often interact with people who are very envious, or people who themselves deal with other people who are very envious.
And more often than not, what envy actually creates is a strong tendency to backstab others, try and sabotage them, spread rumors about them or be passive-aggressive towards them. I guess it’s more convenient to try to pull somebody down than to lift yourself above them.
Second of all, even if envy motivates you to achieve something in life, it might be something you don’t really want. You just go for it because others have it. But it doesn’t make you intrinsically happier.
Think of all the people who work 80 hours a week, in a crappy job, so they can make more money than other people around them. And they eventually end up making more money, but then they find out that, besides the fleeting pride, more money doesn’t make them that much happier, and having more time for themselves would have been a much better path. It’s a very common situation.
Plus, even if you surpass a person in one aspect of life, soon enough you’ll find another aspect where they’ve surpassed you. You’re making more money than they are, but they have a happier marriage than you. Bummer! Later you’ll find individuals who are making more money than you, so more envy gets triggered.
Because you’ll always find people who are better off than you in at least one area, you’ll always feel envious. You’ll be spending lots of time feeling angry and bitter towards others because they have something you don’t. Not a good way to live your life.
4 Ways to Get Over Your Envy
This being said, let’s look at how to stop being envious. Envy can be a deeply ingrained emotion, and overcoming it does require some smart strategies. You may wanna stop being envious just like that, but it’s not that simple.
In time, I’ve discovered that 4 strategies in particular work very well in overcoming envy. Here they are, one by one:
1. Stay Less Informed About Others
In today’s world we are encouraged to constantly keep in touch with every person we’ve ever met and know every detail of their life. We connect with others on Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets, and we find out what they’re wearing, what they’re eating, what parties they’re going to every day.
However, when we learn something about another person, it’s common to automatically compare ourselves to them. It’s pretty much human nature. And when we do, we are likely to find reasons to feel envious. So having too much info about other people’s lives stimulates envy.
There are actually studies that show, for instance, that spending a lot of time on Facebook leads to a decrease in overall life satisfaction, because of this very dynamic.
This is why it’s a good idea to avoid being too connected to the lives of a large number of people. Of course, keep in touch with friends and people you care about, learn about their lives, but don’t stay too informed about too many people. It’s bad for you.
2. Embrace Abundance
One reason why some of us feel envy very easily is because we are in a mindset of insufficiency. Consciously or not, we deem that there are very few resources in this world, and if others get a lot of them, there won’t be enough left for us.
If others make a lot of money, there won’t be enough left for us. If others date attractive women/men, we won’t have anyone attractive to date. Or so the logic goes.
But it’s a flawed logic. The truth is that while many resources are limited, the limits are placed somewhere very high. We do live in a world of abundance and frequently there is plenty to go around.
It’s an excellent idea to practice this way of thinking. Embrace the idea of abundance and don’t let your mind trick you into seeing false shortages. It will make you much more relaxed.
3. Learn to Like Yourself
Another typical reason why we are envious of others is because we don’t have a good opinion of ourselves. So when we find out something positive about another person, it acts as a reminder of our own shortcomings. And when you have a poor self-image, any such reminder hurts like hell.
Considering this, a big part of learning how to stop being envious is to improve your self-image and learn to like yourself. Not only that it will make you less envious, but it will transform your whole life for the better.
Improving your self-image is an entire psychological process, which entails dealing with several limiting belies. I don’t plan to discuss this process in detail here, but if you wanna learn more about how it works, I suggest you watch this instructional presentation, where I share my formula for improving your self-image and social confidence.
4. Build Stronger Relationships
You may have noticed that we don’t feel that envious when a close friend or a dear relative achieves something awesome. That’s because we are strongly emotionally connected to them and their success sort of feels like our success. So we are happy for them rather than envious o them.
This is why a great but often overlooked way to overcome envy is to build better, deeper relationships with people. Having lots of acquaintances and no real friends doesn’t make a fulfilling social life, and it predisposes you to feeling a lot of envy. Having good friends and acquaintances is the way to go.
Deepening your relationships with others does depend on having good social skills and a dose of social confidence. And lacking them is what prevents many folks from developing fulfilling relationships.
So if you wanna improve your social skills and confidence, I recommend that you join my free social confidence newsletter, where I share most of my advice on these key topics. I’m sure you’ll find the content you’ll be receiving from me very relevant for you.
Feeling envious rarely leads to good outcomes. If you often feel envious of others, my advice is to make overcoming this issue a priority. And if you know other people who easily get envious, try to help them work on overcoming this as well.
The resources to work effectively on overcoming envy do exist. I trust this article is one such resource. Start putting the ideas laid here into practice, and I’m certain you’ll like the results you’ll see.
Image courtesy of Romancement