How to turn envy into a positive force
You can admit it, it’s OK.
We’ve all felt envious of others’ success at some point in our lives.
Somewhere inside we all get that voice sometimes saying ‘I wish that was me’. Or ‘That should be me’ / ‘What about me?’.
Truth is we’ve all had moments when we sucked at being happy for others, when we felt threatened by their success.
And then when you catch yourself, you might beat yourself up for being such an awful and despicable person.
You push the envy down, ignore it, suppress it, pretend it’s not there…that dirty, shameful thing.
And you pretend it’s all good. But frustration and resentment build up. Bitterness. Self-pity. Lack of motivation.
Whatever fortune that other person is blessed with made you feel inferior, and you most definitely don’t like it.
Inferior, not ‘cuz you can’t do it, but ‘cuz of your lack of similar success.
You might think they’re not even particulalry great at what they did that got them their success.
You think you can do it better. They just got lucky, or had great connections.
You end up bitter and miserable.
You fall right into having a victim mentality.
Your own work.
If you want to feel more satisfaction along your own path and not be distracted by what others are doing or having, it would be a good idea to let jealousy and envy go.
Envy is attached to 5 subconscious limiting beliefs
If you become aware of these, you can then more easily let envy go.
1. If you hold onto envy, this will help you to get the object you’re after or be better off than the person you envy
Is that really true?
Of course not.
Holding onto jealousy and envy doesn’t help you achieve anything. The only thing you do get more of is your own frustration and of not being good enough.
So now, subconsciously you’re resenting your goals ‘cuz they made you feel like shit. This makes you feel even less motivated or energised.
The result? You’re now even much less likely to get what you want.
2. You should be following ‘rules’ of what & how you ‘should’ be achieving, sticking to deadlines
I’m now in my early 40’s, going on 29. I’m still renting, got no long-term partner and no kids.
Other than running a business doing what I love, I also LOVE going to parties & festivals – dancing by the left speaker and making random connections and friends reminds me why I’m alive.
If I were to judge myself according to standards created and set by someone I don’t know, who I’ve never met and who I’ve no idea whether were truly and genuinely happy, then I’d probably say I’m way behind.
But ask yourself again – is this really true?
Would you be feeling envy were you not conditioned to believe you SHOULD be achieving X, Y and Z by certain points in your life? Social rules, the media and your own comparison to others keep telling you whether you’re a success or not.
BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS SUCCESS TO YOU?
Do you really think that on your last breath you’d be thinking to yourself: ‘Oh, I’m so glad I got on that property ladder…it’s been so rewarding, I can go in peace now’?
It’s hard not to look at others, especially now when everyone’s sharing their glam life on Instagram…
But remember that social media is no reflection of reality. People show what they choose to show.
There’s so much more going on behind those perfectly filtered shots or fb ads from those successful entrepreneurs telling you how they moved from sleeping in their parents’ basement to making 20k a month, promising to do the same for you.
Work, effort, frustrations, setbacks & failures, fears, personal challenges and doubts have been filtered out.
Remember that success shows up in different ways and at different times for different people.
There are NO RULES – and after you die there won’t be a success-god giving you points and stickers.
It’s completely up to you to define what success is – experiencing what is most important and truly valuable to YOU.
3. There’s not enough for everyone
You believe that whatever it is you’d like to have is of limited nature.
There aren’t enough customers interested in what you’ve got to offer.
There aren’t enough opportunities.
There’s not enough money to go round.
Not enough success points for everyone, only the select few.
So you feel like you’re in competition to get those things, and any win for the other is a loss for you.
But is that true?
You might be closed up in some bubble in your work-related field, watching the big players do their thing.
So you forget that potential clients, who aren’t in that bubble, are everywhere, looking for what you want to offer.
YOU could become the next big player. I mean, do you really believe that no one else will ever appear on the scene? So why can’t it be you?
Truth is – there’s plenty for all of us. More than plenty.
In fact, the more success others experience in your field, the more it shows there’s an abundance of potential customers out there.
If only they knew you were around.
4. You deserve success, probably more than them
So you think it should be you the successful one. You in the limelight. It should be you winning out there, not them.
Maybe you consciously think you could do a better job, offer a better product or service, or that you’re a nicer, or generally a more awesome person.
You think some people are less deserving than you.
But do you truly believe that YOU deserve?
Envy means you’re feeling inferior and insecure in some way.
You might consciously think you deserve it more, but you’re subconsciously telling yourself that success happens to others, not to you.
Subconsciously you’re really feeling like you’re not worthy enough. That’s why you resent those who have what you want.
When you hear that voice in the back of your mind telling you you’re not good enough or don’t deserve, it’s too uncomfortable.
So to avoid that, you project it onto the other person instead.
If you truly felt you were good enough, you’d have no problem with anyone enjoying their victories.
You’d be confident in yourself, knowing your value and not feeling threatened.
So envy is simply trying to bring your attention to this limiting belief you have about yourself.
It’s a sign it would be a good idea to work on improving your self-worth.
5. You’re a terrible person for feeling envy
Everyone feels envy at some point or another.
Feeling it isn’t the problem. It’s the holding onto it that’s an issue.
You find it ugly, so you push it even further down yourself to not have to look at it.
And beating yourself up for feeling envy only makes things worse.
Because now, not only are you experiencing all those shitty feelings, but you’re also making a subconscious association between your goals and these very unattractive feelings.
So do you think you’ll then be pushing towards or away from your goals?
Now, you’re even less likely to achieve your goals, making you feel even less great about yourself.
So what to do…?
Recognise that feeling envy doesn’t mean you’re a crappy person.
It only means you’ve misunderstood its purpose.
It’s an opportunity to remind yourself of these false beliefs and change them.
You could reframe envy so that it motivates you.
Instead of saying to yourself ‘I wish it was me’, you could ask some good questions, for example – ‘I’d love to achieve or experience that. I wonder how I can do that’?
Maybe it could even remind you to be grateful for showing you the potential is out there?
So… let’s recap.
Feeling envious and resenting someone else’s success means resenting ALL success. And that includes your own.
You push it away from you in this way.
Envy sells you false ideas while actually offering more positive, valuable intentions behind them.
Success isn’t limited in amount to certain ways, deadlines or people.
Forget what you see on social media or what you think is expected of you.
Compare yourself to no one but learn from anyone you can. In the end you only have to live with yourself.
And if you do feel envy – it’s OK. Just look at what that monster is actually trying to tell you or bring your attention to.
Blessing that which you want and those who have it instead of condemning them, means you’re open to welcoming and receiving rather than resisting that very same blessing.
Because not only does feeling happy for someone else make you happier (simple maths really: more happy feelings, no matter where directed = more happy feelings), but you also create stronger subconscious associations between your goals and positive thoughts & feelings rather than toxic ones.
So re-focus on what’s really important: your own work; your purpose and your service. You’ll feel more motivated, empowered and excited to TAKE YOUR OWN ACTION.
So why not go out there now, and start by appreciating, celebrating and blessing all that you want and all that others have.
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I’d also love to hear from you. In what ways have you found feeling envy or jealousy has held you back? Feel free to post your thoughts and comments below.