Envy is the mad person in your brain. It’s like a venomous snake slithering through you.
You can be having a wonderful day and then envy shows up on your doorstep to steal the joy away. It could be seeing the “perfect” life your sibling has on social media, the promotion your co-worker just received, the weight your neighbor just lost, etc.
What Causes Envy?
According to Psychology Today, there are three parts to envy:
- First, we must be confronted with a person or persons with something—a possession, quality or achievement—that has eluded us.
- We must desire that something for ourselves.
- We must be personally pained because it is this personal dimension that separates envy from more detached feelings such as outrage or injustice.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt
Comparing your life to others rips your peace away. Replace envy with gratitude. Limit exposure to what triggers envy. Make a list of what gives you excessive envy. For example, it could be scrolling through social media seeing the achievements of others, comparing yourself to a fit person at the gym, wishing you could play pickleball as well as your opponent, taking a walk past million-dollar-plus homes, etc.
Identifying Envy Triggers
That fit person at the gym put time and effort into their good health. The envy you feel toward them could be your mind and body expressing that it’s time to start working out to reach your fitness goals. Ask your envy if this is a sign to take a step toward what you’ve been wanting to do. Say, “I can,” instead of “I can’t.”
Susan Biali Haas, M.D., suggests writing down who you’ve compared yourself to in the past 24 hours. Where were you in contact with them? If it were social media, Haas told Psychology Today in an interview to unfollow them. This isn’t rude. It’s setting up your boundaries as you learn how to cultivate happiness for others who trigger envy.
“Make a list of who and what you frequently envy or compare yourself to,” Haas wrote. “Write how each negatively affects you, and why it’s actually a waste of your time. Resolve to catch yourself next time. Avoid comparison triggers if you can, especially if the activity or contact doesn’t add meaning or any real value to your life.”
The power we give envy is trading happiness for poison.
The Grass Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side
First Lady Kerri Scott and I had a conversation recently about experiences envying others. “What we don’t know is what’s really going on in that person’s life,” Kerri said. “They might look like they have a perfect life, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”
Just because a person has expensive materialistic possessions and drives a fine car, be careful what you wish for. That doesn’t mean they are financially secure. They could be on the verge of bankruptcy or losing that gorgeous car.
According to Healthline, “People typically display their best selves to the world, so it’s not always easy to tell what’s really happening in someone else’s life or relationship. Then there’s the whole issue of social media, which magnifies this concept.”
Tips To Prevent Envy:
- You are worthy. Tell yourself this every day and in moments of envy.
- Practice gratitude. Take inventory of what you already have.
- Have a talk with your envy. Dig deep into your issues and address them. Sometimes it’s just acknowledging negative emotions before you can release them.
- Talk to a therapist, recommended Healthline. Vicki Botnic, LMFT, said to Healthline it might be best to see a therapist if jealous thoughts become obsessive or fixated thoughts.
- Do things you love.
- Have patience with yourself. This doesn’t happen in 24 hours.
- Smile for someone else’s happiness and achievements. Feel it in your heart for them.
Envy has no business being on your spiritual path. If you recognized yourself in any part of this article, it’s ok. We’re all works in progress clearing envy blocks. May your self-esteem grow and may you manifest your dreams. Namaste.