Envying others is one of the most common human emotions and it transcends the globe to include every culture on the planet. Envy is resentment aroused by someone’s possessions, qualities, or luck. Most of us are envious because we feel the need to quench an addicting, egocentric urge to feel equal to or superior to those around us. Nobody likes to realize that they are not as successful as the next man in life and too many of us spend precious time obsessing over what we don’t have; instead of worrying about and cherishing the many great positives present in our lives. Envy makes us disappointed, dissatisfied, inferior, and can crush one’s self-esteem.
Envy is mostly involuntary and enables us to use other people’s lives as an indicator of success; neglecting ourselves as the barometers for happiness, wants, and needs. It can be the obsessive feeling that we will never achieve what someone else has because we are not good enough. Envy is essentially low self-esteem due to this wrong belief that having what others have will make us happy.
Ever feel negative emotions when something good happens to a close friend or relative? That is envy creeping in – when we want to feel happiness for them, but end up wanting what they have and being upset that we are not the person in their place.
Envy, however, is quite different from using a role model or inspiring figure as motivated to become a greater individual. There is nothing wrong with viewing another person as a positive influence, and using their success to motivate us to improve our own life. Where envy gets destructive is when it consumes us and actually holds back our self-development and personal progress.
It is in our nature to be greedy; always discounting the positives in our lives to focus on the material possessions we say we “need” to make us happier. We seldom realize that even the most misfortune members of our society live better than billions of other people roaming the Earth. When we are complaining about an incremental pay increase, children in other parts of the world are dying daily due to lack of clean drinking water or other unfathomable issues that we never have to deal with. In fact, most inhabitants of the world are either sick, dying, living in extreme poverty, displaced due to warfare, or resigned to the fact that they will never enjoy personal freedom due to their governments.
Most of us in the western world take our lives for granted (family, friends, income, social status, etc.). The old cliché goes “live everyday as if it is your last.” One simply cannot know how much more time we have to live, even though we all want to assume we will die of old age far into the future. That simply is not a reality. We must enjoy our time in the present, and not waste it in a pissing contest with the next man or worrying if our life meets the approval of others. We are socially conditioned to think that those around us are living a care free life with no worries or issues. We paint a story as to what their life must be like which is far far from reality.
Focus on self-improvement and compare yourself to who you were a week ago – and not to anyone else. Word hard every day, stay organized, and never stop focusing on the achievement of long-term goals. When you feel your life is not “good enough” or when you have resentment or bitterness towards someone’s achievements; remember that there are millions of people who would consider your life a dream world. Sometimes we are so consumed with envy and negative thoughts to see all the positives that actually exist in our lives, even in our darkest moments.
Envy is fostered by a negative mind state. Luckily, we are blessed with the power to change our thought process where we do not focus and dwell on the negatives. While it is natural to have moments of weakness – learning to harness this and control your emotions is key. Focus on the source of your envy and try to dissect WHY you are feeling the negative thoughts. When envy shows its face, NEVER let it stop your personal goals or growth as a person. When you stop worrying about others and focus on your own success, it is an empowering moment. Start today. Live Tomorrow.