Envy is a complicated, often misunderstood emotion. Envy can be destructive if you lack the proper frame. If you are constantly resentful of what others have, you are struggling with a fleeting sense of self-worth. This can be anything from material possessions to someone’s personal success, lifestyle, physical qualities, relationships, etc.
If you let envy dominate your life it will ruin you.
Master Your Mindset, Master Your Emotions
I am a believer in “healthy envy.” Negative emotions have an important place in our lives. They are natural human instincts that cannot be avoided.
Negative emotions give you an edge and help guard against complacency.
Being too positive can be dangerous according to studies. If your outlook is too rosy – you’ll easily become disenchanted when faced with obstacles and challenges.
Maintaining constant healthy envy is difficult in today’s social media obsessive culture. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all can evoke feelings of unhappiness, as you are constantly seeing other people’s highlights and naturally (and unassuming) compare them to your “behind the scenes.”
You must train the mind to process envy in a healthy way. I’ve learned to use the success of others as inspiration to improve my life.
For instance, when I go to the gym and see a guy who is monstrous – it fuels me to work out THAT much harder. I certainly don’t go home and sulk about it. Instead, I become angry that someone is physically out working me.
If I see a friend or co-worker get a raise at work – What do I do? I don’t wish ill towards them. Instead, I tell myself that I’m not working hard enough, that I need to step it up. I take actionable steps to improve myself, using that person’s achievement’s to drive me. This is how you keep envy in a healthy state.
Identify Your Envious Thoughts
Envy is all about perspective. Negative envy eventually begins to drain you and creates excess resentment towards those around you. You must re-frame negative envy or do everything in your power to cut it out of your life.
Try this exercise. Write down all of your envious thoughts using a pen and paper, or using a spreadsheet application.
Label three columns:
- Source of envy: status, money, physique, girlfriend, house, etc.
- Type of envy: Unhealthy/negative or healthy/positive
- Reasons for envy: Identify the reasons for your envy and how you can re-frame your perspective.
Ask yourself the below questions. The answers will go in your third column.
1. Who or what is making you envious?
- Is it really something you need?
- Is it just something you want?
- Do you even want it at all?
Question the situation and you might quickly realize that your brain is playing tricks on you. Maybe it wouldn’t even make you feel better if you had it. Think smart and attack all the angles. You’ll be surprised to find a lot of things you waste time envying.
2. What is it that you really want?
Most people would say they want to be “more successful.” But that is a generic, lazy statement. Realize that being envious means you are not content with your current reality.
What steps are you taking to realize success? Are you setting goals and making progress on said goals? Are you giving up at the first sign of resistance? Be honest with yourself.
To help you understand how you should chart your thoughts, here is an example:
After you have everything in front of you, it should be easier to piece together those emotions of envy that are helping or hindering your happiness and success.
You need to make envy work for you. If you sat down with any wildly successful individual– I’d be willing to bet they’d tell you that they’ve trained their minds to use negative emotions these emotions to fuel goals and passions.
Never view yourself as inferior, only as improving. Holding malice towards others is never the answer. With the proper mindset, you will be able to master your emotions – allowing your healthy envy to push you past your self-imposed limits and meet personal satisfaction.
What about you? Are you envious of those around you? Are you able to control your envy and use it as positive reinforcement?
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