How To Permanently Eliminate the Feeling of Envy
Envy is a deceptive emotion that is often disguised as anger, frustration, or criticism. It is essentially the feeling of lacking something in your life, caused by seeing someone else with the thing you want. The thing you feel you’re lacking in your life could be anything: a supportive family, a group of friends, a girlfriend, an improved financial situation.
When you see someone else with one of these things, it makes you envious because someone has acquired something that you haven’t. Envy can cause you to question your capabilities. If you see someone achieve something you desire, you feel like you don’t possess the qualities to achieve the same thing.
Emotions like anger and sadness are vocalised, but envy is a silent emotion that remains in your head. Emotions like anger are not emotions to be ashamed of, but envy is an emotion that people don’t want to admit to themselves, let alone others.
Envy leads to many problems because you continue to suppress it, and each time you suppress it, it accumulates because you’re not addressing it. Over time this envy will leave you feeling neurotic because you’ve never got to the root cause of why you’re envious.
Since it’s masqueraded as other emotions like anger, you might not even realise you’re feeling envious for years. Whereas emotions like anger are short-term emotions, and it’s much easier to find ways to release the tension of these emotions.
The first step to eradicating envy is just to notice when the emotion arises. Since envy often poses another emotion like anger, it can be difficult to become mindful of when you’re envious. The best way to differentiate envy from other negative emotions is to establish what you currently feel you lack in your life.
If you’re struggling financially, you might start feeling envious when you see people around you with money. Or, if you’re having issues in your dating life, you might start feeling frustrated when you see people around you with partners. This frustration you feel is masquerading the envy.
When the emotion first arises, the objective is to notice it without judging it. Don’t feel bad about the envy or try to get rid of it. Instead, just watch the emotion and see how it feels in your mind and your body. It’s like you temporarily step outside your mind and see it from a third-person view. This completely changes the way you perceive envy.
If you’re fully conscious of the envy, it starts to feel wrong, and you’re able to let go of the feeling. You know logically that you don’t want to feel envious, but through mindfulness, you’ll be able to realise it on an emotional level. Just knowing you don’t want to feel envious isn’t enough to eliminate it; you need to become mindful.
Whenever you experience envy, it’s because you’re not conscious of what is happening in your mind. Nobody wants to experience envy, but the current situation is controlling your emotions.
If you continue to practice this daily, you’ll be able to take control of your emotions and stop yourself from feeling envious. You have to do this consistently, though; it’s not going to work if you just try to practice mindfulness once or twice.
What Sort of Person Do You Want to Be?
You should aspire to become a strong person. Envy is a petty behaviour, and when you’re conscious of it, you start to see that this is not the sort of mindset you want to emulate in your life. Take a look at your role models; is this the sort of mindset that they have? Any great leader or influential person, do you think they’ve been distracted by what other people have acquired? Instead, they focus on themselves and what they want to create.
If you commit to being a strong person, you’ll quickly identify when your actions and thoughts aren’t congruent with that. Think about how your partner would view you or how your kids would view you if you continued to be an envious person. Would you feel proud of your envy, or would you feel ashamed of it?
An effective way of reframing envy is to start congratulating people in your mind when you see them getting results that you would like to achieve in your own life. For example, you’re trying to launch a new business and see other people with successful internet businesses. Be happy for their success rather than comparing yourself to them and becoming envious of what they’ve achieved.
This goes against the grain of what your mind wants to do if you’re an envious person. Your mind is all about belittling the other person, venting your envy towards them and finding ways to console yourself for your shortcomings. It seems like this helps to neutralise the pain, but it just damages your psychology even more.
When you’re criticising other people or showing any direct sign of envy, you’re essentially labelling this other person as a threat. Once you’ve labelled them as a threat, you won’t be able to relax when they’re around.
Instead, you’re going to feel on edge when they’re around, and you’re going to be closely watching their actions. This is not the way you want to live life, to be on a constant lookout in case they’re doing better than you in some way.
If you start congratulating them, you’re teaching yourself to be independent of other people’s success. You no longer have to be on the lookout for what they’re doing because their success isn’t threatening yours.
Congratulating someone might feel weird when you first do this, but it can significantly reduce your envy. When you do kind things for other people, this releases oxytocin and dopamine and boosts your serotonin levels, which is responsible for positive emotions. So wishing well for someone is like an internal act of kindness for someone else.
Abundance vs Scarcity
One of the biggest mindset shifts to eliminate your envy is understanding that the world has abundant resources. Your level of success will never be impacted by what other people achieve. Anything that you see other people acquiring that you desire, you can obtain it too. This could be money, a relationship, intelligence, fulfilment.
Anytime you experience envy, you believe that resources are scarce, meaning that somebody else’s success limits your ability to be successful. If you feel deficient in some area of your life and see someone else becoming successful in that area, it can feel painful. For example, everybody around you is in a relationship, and you want to be in a relationship yourself.
If you have a scarcity mindset, you will change how you feel about yourself whenever you see other people getting into relationships. The more people you see that are successful, the worse you’re going to feel about yourself. It’s going to make you think that you’re not attractive or that you’re undatable.
The more you focus on people who have things you desire, the more deficient you will feel in that particular area. When you’re desperate to acquire something is when you put yourself under pressure. This ends up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It’s important to separate someone else’s success from yourself. Seeing somebody else obtaining success doesn’t change anything about your reality. This doesn’t change anything about your appearance; it doesn’t change anything about your dating prospects. That’s an illusion that your mind is creating because you feel deficient in this area.
If you spend all of your time looking at what other people have relative to you, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’re going to continue to be deficient in all of these areas that you see yourself deficient in because you don’t believe there are sufficient resources for your success. Whereas if you focus on yourself and realise that other people succeeding has no impact on your ability to be successful, you’re going to experience excellent results.
You might be thinking; sometimes this just happens in life where you’re in a situation that involves competing with people. Naturally, their success takes away from your success—for example, two rival businesses competing with one another.
But even in over-saturated markets where it seems like there’s no room for any more competition, you can still become successful. If you focus on your business model and offer as much value as possible, you’ll find that opportunities start presenting themselves. Everyone has unique skills and styles that they can implement in whatever field they want to succeed in.
It’s interesting that when you achieve success in a certain area of your life, you no longer feel envious, and you want to help other people achieve the same success.
This feeling of contribution is why so many successful people write books to share their wisdom.
If there were scarce resources, the greatest minds in the world would not be sharing their wisdom; they would be keeping it a secret. Once you learn that other people’s success does not hinder your value, it frees you up from feeling vulnerable and constantly living in fear of other people achieving great things in their life.
Ultimately, if you go about life thinking that someone else has to lose for you to win, you’re going to feel miserable. If you could acquire all the success you wanted, and nobody else in the world was successful, then you’d feel unfulfilled. You wouldn’t connect or relate to people; you wouldn’t have anyone to share your successes with. You would feel completely isolated from everybody else, and you’d feel like an outsider.
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