Saturday, 16 March 2019

4 Steps to Overcoming Envy

Image Credit: @chaa_coco

Envy is a poisonous emotion we all feel at one point or another, however, we often fail to acknowledge. Considering we’re all emotional beings, it should be expected that we display and feel a wide range of emotions. However, somehow, we managed to make envy seem so taboo that we don’t even discuss it. I can honestly raise my hands and admit that I’ve slipped into the motions or envy more than once. It's almost always the same routine: You see someone that's perceived to achieve higher/better than yourself, you result to negatively comparing yourself and thus end up resenting the person. There is no real logic to this, our successes and milestones are mutually exclusive of each other. If person ‘A’ succeeds, this does not affect the possibility (or probability) for person ‘B’ to succeed. We all know this, yet somehow emotion  take over our senses and lead us down the downward spiral of envy. For this blog post I will outline four ways I address and overcome the taboo emotion of envy. It has taken multiple attempts of practise, but I feel I finally have a better understanding (and grip) of this emotion:

The first step to change is to acknowledge the issue. You have to be alert about how you react to different scenarios. For example, if a friend/acquaintance/etc shares good news with you, yet deep down you know you don’t feel happy for them, address it. It's so important to tackle this emotion as soon as you’re aware of feeling it. No pretending and hoping it goes away, no masking it with happiness, no sweeping it under the carpet either. The first step is to introspect, search your heart and confess to yourself that you feel envious!

Quite often, the way we treat others and react to others is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. If you find yourself feeling envious, it’s a great opportunity to soul search, dig deep and ask yourself why you feel this way. I find triggers to be such an amazing pointer for self discovery, as they usually force you to search your heart to understand why you’re feeling a particular way. Envy can often serve as a prompt that reveals where you feel you’re lacking in your life and therefore need to work on. For example if your friend starts an online business which honestly makes you envious, this is an opportunity to dig deeper and ask yourself why you feel this way. You may discover that you have a desire to start your own business. Or maybe you already have a business and realise you’re ready to take it to the next level. This may even reveal that you feel empty and want more for your life. The possibilities are endless, however we won't even begin to understand this unless we question ourselves.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Even when we find ourselves in a great position, we may still come across someone in a much better position. The logical thing to do is to learn from this person and utilise what they have to teach us. However, we often risk clouding our minds with covetous thoughts that force us to negatively compare ourselves, thus begin a vicious episode of envy. I believe the opposite emotion to envy is admiration. It’s impossible to feel envious towards someone you truly admire. This is because admiration is a positive thought that outshines envy. Similar to envy, admiration challenges us to compare ourselves to the achiever. However unlike envy, the comparison is very positive. Not only do we applaud those we admire, we learn from them and respect them greatly. Ultimately, we all have separate walks in life with separate timelines for success. Sometimes we’re aiming to achieve the same thing, however we all have varying timelines for this. It’s incredibly important to be grateful for where you are, acknowledge that you’re on your own unique journey and also learn from those who have achieved what you desire.

Finally, I would advise to stay focused or your development, goals and objectives. No matter how bumpy the road gets, always hold yourself accountable for your development. I try my best to instill a tunnel vision attitude to my success. I find when I’m super focused achieving objectives, I don’t have the time or head space to dare envy anyone. When I’m in my ‘go-getter’ mode, whenever I encounter someone in a successful position I resort to admiring them as I know I will one day get there (I have all this personal investment to show for it!)

To summarise, envy is a natural emotion. Like a lot of our emotions, we must learn to process and manage it accordingly. It's not always easy, especially at a younger more naive mental stage. However as we develop and become more self aware, we learn to ask ourselves the right questions. I hope this post was of use to you, I would love to hear your tips on how you manage and overcome envy.

Love & Peace,

Jen Noir

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