I’m sure you’ve felt it… that searing, sick feeling when someone you know – a dear, close friend, a family member, an old rival – gets something you desperately want. You hate when jealousy creeps in, but you can’t bring yourself to overcome envy.
Your best friend just got a promotion and is now earning more money than you. Or maybe it’s something that you just know is trivial, but it still stings – something as frivolous as who gets more likes on social media.
Malcolm X famously said: “Envy blinds men and makes it impossible for them to think clearly.” That, right there, is the problem with trying to overcome envy.
When you feel that sting of envy – it can take over all your attention and cause you to lose focus on the things that are important to you.
This becomes a vicious cycle – the less you achieve while others succeed, the more you feel envy, and the more envy you feel, the more you lose your ability to focus on making your own dreams and goals happen.
This endless cycle of comparison, jealousy, and failure can become crippling for your mental, emotional and even physical health, so it is in your best interest to learn to overcome envy and focus on creating a life that works for you.
What Causes You to Envy Other’s Achievements?
Envy, at its most basic, is that feeling of resentment, anger, and disappointment that we don’t have the things that others have.
That feeling can take many different forms, but in the end, they are all born from the same emotion – a belief that we, personally, cannot have the good fortune than someone else. We envy other people because deep inside we believe we cannot have what they have.
We don’t think we are good enough to make it happen. That we don’t have what it takes to make it come true.
And that what keeps you suffering – your deep desire to have the achievements of others and the voice in your head that tells you “you’ll never get it”.
This is just one limiting belief out of many. Our minds are full of blockages that determine every result we have and will ever have in life, and nothing will change until we shift those mental patterns. Here, I explain how to do it.
We have this childish belief that “If I can’t have it, I don’t want anyone else to have it”.
But how do we recognize envy for what it is? It helps to understand the different ways we experience it, and to see how we can move past those things on the journey to overcome jealousy.
Moving Past It – How to Overcome envy
Being jealous or envious of someone else’s greatness, good fortune and wellbeing is ruining your life.
Focusing on others causes you to lose sight of your own dreams, goals, and ambitions. It makes you resentful and grumpy. It can even lead to depression and anxiety…
But you know what envy doesn’t do for you?
It never leads to your own success.
Is it possible to overcome envy and turn it into something else?
It is such a natural human tendency to compare ourselves to others that it may sound impossible to stop doing – but can that be turned into a force for personal gain?
Many emotions can be placed somewhere on a sliding scale that goes from the most positive version of that emotion to its most negative aspect.
For example, if we put love and hate on either end of a sliding scale, we can see that they are built from the same emotional components – closeness to another person, understanding of their traits, our daily interactions with them.
It is how we respond to those factors that determine whether we love that person, hate them, or feel something in between.
In the same way, envy exists on the far negative end of the same sliding scale as that most positive emotion, inspiration.
When someone you admire achieves something great, be inspired to achieve something great, whether it’s something similar or totally different – use that emotion to propel you forward.
If we envy someone who has achieved great success, it generates a negative vibration that doesn’t serve us well.
If, however, we look to their success and use it as an inspiration, a benchmark for our own success, it can push us to do great things.
So how do we overcome envy and switch to the other end of the emotional scale? How do we move on from jealousy and become people who are inspired instead?
One step at a time
When you learn to stop being jealous and instead embrace others’ achievements and good fortune as a stimulating force, you experience many additional positive changes.
For example, you immediately gain a more positive outlook on life, as well as a significant reduction in stress, anger, and resentment.
Once you start removing these stumbling blocks, it can be considerably easier to focus on your own dreams and goals, and the process and work you need to put in to make them reality – everything from growing your personal relationships to growing your career or own business becomes much easier to tackle.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to put in the work, but it opens you up to the thought that you CAN actually achieve your desires.
And as you start shifting the belief “I’m not good enough” to “I think it may be possible for me do it”, the actions become much easier.
Step 1: Understand Your Envy
What is it that makes you envious? By getting to know your own reactions and understanding why you’re being jealous, you can slowly start to eradicate it.
In many cases, that envy comes from low self-esteem.
If you don’t believe you are good enough to achieve something, it can be easier to simply blame it on someone else being luckier than you.
Knowing why you feel that envy and jealousy is the first important step to overcoming it. We must understand our reasons and motivations before we can change them.
Step 2: Understand Your Own Capabilities
Not all of us have the same abilities and talents, and this can be a major cause of envy.
You might see someone excelling at a certain kind of sport, and be jealous of them for this, simply because you aren’t very good at sports at all.
But you might have other talents that they could never hope to emulate.
That’s why it’s important to understand what your own abilities are and to focus on developing them, rather than envying someone else’s strengths.
Once we understand why we envy someone specific, it makes it easier to come to terms with envy and move on.
Are you jealous of that sportsperson’s ability to play that game, or are you envious of the success they have achieved by being very good at something?
If you envy their natural talent and it is a talent you simply don’t possess, then you need to learn to accept that not everyone is the same and we all have our own strengths.
If, however, it is their level of success you envy, then it is possible to do something else and achieve your own success.
Spend some time getting to know what you are innately good at, what talents you have that you can develop, what value you can bring to this world, and where your strengths lie that you can build on.
Step 3: Know What You Want
Once you are clear on why you feel envy, and have gained an understanding of your own unique abilities, it is time to set yourself goals, and find ways to achieve your dreams using these abilities.
This will not only help you overcome envy, but also move on past jealousy and thrive.
Be detailed with your goals and make sure it resonates with your values. When you are clear on what you want to achieve, it makes it easier to move past envy.
Step 4: Transform Your Envy
Like I said before, envy is on the absolute negative end of sliding scale. On the opposite end is inspiration.
But what else lies on the positive side of that continuum? What other emotions can we encourage in order to overcome envy?
Gratitude: When we start to feel envious of someone else’s fortune, it can help to focus on being grateful for the things we have.
By reminding ourselves of the good things in our own lives, we begin to change our own perspective on life.
Abundance: Instead of focusing on what someone else has that we don’t, we shift our perspective and see that their success, their fortune, is a clear proof that this Universe is abundant!
There is success, there is fortune and there is abundance in this world that we can also partake of.
Sharing happiness: How much better is it to celebrate someone else’s achievement than to resent it? If a friend, family member or colleague experiences success in any part of their lives, cultivate an attitude of being happy for them and helping them celebrate.
Not only will this help you avoid envy, but it will also mean closer, stronger relationships, and having someone in your corner when you achieve something great. Wouldn’t it be nice to have friends that are truly happy for you than secretly envy you?
Besides, remember, what you see is only the tip of the iceberg – you never get to see the full picture of their lives, so don’t get stuck comparing yourself to them relentlessly.
Emulation: Rather than resenting someone else’s success, take it as an opportunity to learn and emulate them. If they have certain habits that help them achieve things, then learn to emulate those habits.
But most importantly – deduce their mindset from their actions and the way they carry themselves.
Their actions are just a reflection of their winning mentality. So learn the empowering beliefs they hold under the surface, that propel them to gain greatness.
Develop an attitude of mentorship towards those people, whether that means being in direct contact with them as a mentor, or reading all their blogs, books and articles, listening to their podcasts and so on.
Expect More From Yourself
Once you learn to overcome envy and embrace a life of being inspired to achieve great things, you will notice how much better your life becomes.
Your relationships will improve, because you are putting in the effort to develop them. Your career will improve, because you are working hard at making it better.
Are you ready to let go o jealousy, and finally be happy for others’ blessings, experience joy, ease & abundance? Find out how I did it.
You can even improve your physical health by being inspired and cultivating strong habits, instead of envying someone else’s physique.
Spend the time and energy to move beyond envy – the rewards you reap will be worth the investment in yourself.