For this week’s blog, I wanted to take a closer look at envy and how to overcome it. Envy leads us down a path of wasted time and energy from getting what we want. Whenever I hear someone blame others for their lack of success or happiness, I often sense some envy as well.
I think we can be pretty certain that envy has plagued humankind since the beginning of time. I’m pretty sure that the minute one caveman brought home a bigger animal to eat than his neighbor, envy was born. In this day and age, envy seems more commonplace than ever. With social media, we don’t need to actually talk to or even interact with our friends and family to be envious. All we need to do is log on to our chosen social media platform and we can be envious anytime we want, 24/7. Envy is just a click away.
Many times this makes people want to compete on social media. We see something that makes us envious and we want to put up a picture showing how great our lives are, how happy we are. Sometimes I’ll scroll through my social media feed and see that someone’s written something along the lines of “Out with friends and having the best time!” I’m always so amused by that. You mean to tell me that you’re having such an amazing time that you feel the need to interrupt your amazing time to post something online about it? It’s almost as if they think that if no one sees it, their good times don’t matter. That makes no sense to me.
While this may not be the worst thing in the grand scheme of things, it does get in the way of you actually living your life. Why on earth let feelings caused by an outside source interfere with you having a good time? How many times have I seen people at a party stop their fun to pose for multiple pictures, all so they can get the perfect party shot to post online- one where they look like they’re having the time of their lives and, more importantly, all look great. Here’s an idea, why not just focus on having a good time? Shouldn’t the goal be to have an actual good time, not to make others believe you had one?
What I‘ve also noticed about negative competition and envy is that it’s often associated with the people who are closest to us. I think that’s why social media can sometimes make us so crazy- we have a constant window into our friends and their “amazing” lives. We’re generally not envious of celebrities or people far removed from ourselves. Sure, sometimes we like to fantasize about having a celebrity lifestyle, but we’re not actually angry with envy towards them.
However, when a friend or a “frenemy” gets something we want, it can drive us crazy. We might think to ourselves, “This person is like me, we’re from the same circle, yet he/she has accomplished something I didn’t. Why couldn’t I have done that?” Similarly, someone close to you may have recently lost a lot of weight or received a big promotion and has posted about it all over social media. Envy transforms this good news about your friend into something ugly that eats you up inside. These feelings wear you down because you can’t openly discuss them with anyone. You realize your negative feelings are a result of immature envy and of course you could never admit it in a million years. Instead, you come up with other reasons why you hate this person and tell yourself you’re completely justified. You become a poor friend to this person who did nothing wrong and you wore yourself out in the process. It’s a technique that I’ve used since childhood. I have a million flaws- ask my wife and she’ll surely tell you I have billion- but even she will tell you that I seem to be immune to envy.
The reason I’m immune to envy is that when I see that someone has something I want, I don’t see it as a problem. I only see an opportunity- the opportunity to get motivated to do something I haven’t done and the opportunity to ask for advice. If you find yourself feeling envious, turn that envy into motivation and, whenever possible, get over your own ego and ask for help and guidance. Use what they’ve learned to help you achieve what you want. Most people will gladly share their secrets of success and often all it will cost you is a compliment about whatever they’ve achieved. If you feel you don’t need advice, then there’s nothing to be envious of, so you need to let it go. If, on the other hand, the friend doesn’t want to give you guidance, then don’t worry because nowadays there’s no shortage of information on any topic we want to learn about. Use the motivation of your friend’s success and find the information yourself online, especially by visiting this awesome blog!
The fact is if you’re happy with your life, don’t let the fact that someone has it better suddenly make you less happy. Why would you let an outside factor determine how you feel about something you were previously satisfied with? Realize you have it so much better than many others. Focus on seeing the good that’s already in front of you, and you’ll always have peace and happiness. And if you truly realize something is missing or not right with your life, find happiness in the fact that you have all of the abilities to change it.