6 AMAZING STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME ENVY
Envy is probably the most complicated emotion of all. That is, because, it’s very difficult for us to actually know that we are acting out of envy. For example, if you are feeling angry, you can say it out loud, “I am angry”. But have you ever heard a person saying “I am envious of you” and “I am trying to destroy you because of that”? Most probably not. It’s extremely hard for us to confront the fact that we are feeling envy.
The reason for this is quite simple. As mentioned earlier, if we feel anger we know we are feeling it. We are also not afraid of showing our anger and when we show it, the person at the receiving end also knows we are pissed off. But it’s not the case with envy. All of us feel envy. A feeling that others have more of what we want, money, status, attention. We deserve to have all those things, yet feel helpless. But “ADMITTING THIS FEELING WOULD ENTAIL THAT WE ARE INFERIOR TO OTHERS IN SOMETHING WE VALUE”. It’s not only painful to accept being inferior to others but even embarrassing to let others know that we feel this way.
Therefore in trying to overcome envy, you must first train yourself to know exactly when you are under an envy attack so that you can do something about it. Secondly, you must know that envy is a negative emotion and it has, like all other negative emotions, the tendency to ruin your life. It is because at the root of it is not a desire to move yourself up, but instead a madness to bring others down. Caught up, in this vicious cycle of sabotaging people’s lives, you don’t know to what depths you can fall. This understanding will motivate you to overcome this negative emotion because the prime benefactor out of this would be you.
Now once you are motivated to get rid of envy, here are the five strategies that’ll help you do it?
1. Move Closer To What You Envy
Envy thrives on relative distance. Normally, in the social arena people try to present the best possible front in which they only show their conquests and hide their failures. A thrilling new relationship, a promotion, an amazing business idea and its following success. If only, you move a bit closer to these people and observe their lives, you’ll see what they are hiding –the quarrels behind the closed doors or the horrible boss that comes with the new job. Nothing in this world is as perfect as it seems, human beings least of all. Just by getting closer to what you envy, you’ll see the various problems that come with it.
This fact is even easier to understand in the times of social media. On social media, people pose as the coolest guys on earth. However, if you meet them in person they are quite ordinary. I personally know people who are social media stars but are miserable in their personal lives. Similarly, if you envy people with great fame, remind yourself of the hostility and intense scrutiny that comes with such attention, the intense pressure of always maintaining your reputation, all of which results in lesser and lesser personal freedom. Simply put, you must look beyond the glittering façade and see the inevitable disadvantages that come with their position. In doing so, you are shifting your focus from what they have to what they don’t, which has an immense psychological effect on your overall wellbeing.
The point is not to judge people or downplay their achievements and criticize them. “YOU ARE SIMPLY TRAINING YOUR MIND TO BE MORE POSITIVE AND LESS NEGATIVE. YOU ARE JUST EXERCISING TO GET RID OF A NEGATIVE EMOTION THAT CAN DESTROY YOUR LIFE”.
2. Look Towards Those Who have Less
One of the biggest reasons we feel envy is that almost always we focus on people who have more than us. Therefore to overcome envy, you should bring a shift in your perspective. You should start looking at people who have less than you. Believe me, each one of us can find plenty of examples for such a comparison. Just think of the people living in war zones and refugee camps, people in jails, people in history who went through immense pain e.g. slaves. Such a comparison will stimulate gratitude for things that you normally take for granted. Believe me, this exercise is the most effective antidote to envy, and it can radically transform your life.
As a starter, just close your eyes and imagine if you did not have your two hands, or your feet, or eyes. Can you imagine what your life would have been in that case? You could not even come out of your own room on your own. Another exercise is that whenever you feel envy, you can make a list of all the positive things in your life, people who love you, the body you have, the health you enjoy presently. “UNDERSTAND THAT GRATITUDE IS LIKE A MUSCLE WHICH NEEDS EXERCISE OR IT WILL ATROPHY”.
3. Use Envy as a Source of motivation
As it’s almost impossible for some people to stop the comparison mechanism in their brains, which is mostly the cause of envy, it would be best to redirect and divert it towards something productive, creative and actually rewarding for us. Instead of trying to sabotage and bring down the person who has achieved more, you should use these people as a motivating and driving force to raise yourself up to their level and beyond. This way envy will become a spur for excellence. In this case, you should actively strive to be around people who are better than you, to stimulate your competitive instincts. “BUT TO ACHIEVE THIS YOU HAVE TO BRING SOME IMPORTANT CHANGES INTO YOUR THINKING”.
Firstly, you should convince yourself that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE and that you have the capacity to reach new heights. You should tell yourself that you have the greatest gift in the world, “FREEWILL”. Which means you can choose what to do. Having confidence in your abilities to learn and improve will serve as a tremendous antidote to envy. Instead of snatching away people’s possessions, you would feel a desire to earn them for yourself, a win win situation for everyone.
Secondly, you should develop a solid work ethic to back your desire of moving up. You cannot reach the top of the mount, if you stop walking. You should understand that persistence and rigorous effort almost overcomes every hurdle. Also, people who are lazy are much more likely to feel envy, so you should also get rid of that.
Thirdly, you should know that people who have achieved success have not done it overnight. Remind yourself of the time when they just started. How long it took for them to be on the top. If you keep on working consistently, you’ll surely be where they are right now in due time. “THIS WAY, YOU WILL GRADUALLY DEMYSTIFY THE INITIAL EFFECT THAT SUCCESS HAS ON US. KEEPING IN VIEW THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS THEY WENT THROUGH IN THEIR PATH WILL MOTIVATE YOU AND HELP YOU BETTER UNDERSTAND THE ACTUAL DYNAMICS OF SUCCESS AND ACHIEVEMENT“.
4. Try to genuinely share their Joy
As they say, offense is the best defense. When we are experiencing envy we are prone to feeling joy in the pain of the person we envy. Instead, you should try its opposite, which means instead of merely congratulating people on their success, you should actively try to feel their joy. This might seem unnatural as our basic instinct would be to feel a pang of envy. But by practice, you can teach yourself how others feel in their happiness and satisfaction. We can tell the difference between superficial excitement and when someone is genuinely happy for us. As such moments are rare, they are excellent opportunities for bonding. At this moment you should get rid of your ego and insecurities. Instead, you should think that if the person who has achieved something is genuinely convinced of your sincerity, he is going to be extremely helpful to you. We lose so many opportunities to collaborate and make partnerships with people that will prove beneficial in the longer run just because of our fragile ego. Of what use is this ego that is ultimately hurting yourself?
5. Have a sense of purpose
Having a sense of purpose and a clear understanding of where you are headed is an outstanding way to immunize yourself against envy. Just imagine you are going to an interview for your dream job. On your way, are you going to be affected by anything you see or hear? The only thing on your mind on the way would be the interview. Why is that? It’s because you have an intense and a clear understanding of where you are going and what you want. Same is the case with the person who has a purpose and a calling in life. He is so focused on his own plans and goals that he has no time to feel useless envy. What gives him true satisfaction is not money or attention but realizing his true potential and pouring all his energies into that. His sense of self-worth comes from within not from outside.
6. Admire human greatness
Admiration is the polar opposite of envy, you acknowledge people’s achievements, celebrate them without having to feel insecure. You admit their greatness in their field, arts, sciences, music, etc., but this is not possible unless you have an open soul, which has the depth and greatness to feel at one with the entire human species. In acknowledging their greatness you are essentially admiring your species, ultimately admiring yourself. You are celebrating the highest potential of our species. You share the pride that comes from any great human achievement. Such admiration would lift you up from the pettiness of day-to-day life and will have a transcending effect. Just imagine what reason you have to envy Isaac newton or Albert Einstein. Think of every high achiever as a contributor to the overall human experience.