I have a love-hate relationship with envy. Sometimes, I love being envious because it motivates me to be competitive. Other times, I hate being envious because it makes me feel inferior and lacking. Envy can unleash my hidden strengths and at the same time, uncover my insecurities in an instant. Nakakaloka, diba? But then, I realized that envy is as natural as the air I breathe and the food I eat (wow, that rhymes!). It’s been there since time immemorial. I should just know how to manage my envy and I’ll be fine. No need to live in a cave to escape from it. No need to overreact or something.
Because 12 is my birthday number, here are 12 things I remind myself of whenever I feel envious of other people:
1. It’s normal to get envious. Envy is an emotion, a feeling that’s inherent to humans (and animals, I’d assume).
2. Envy should teach you to be appreciative of what you have. Why be envious when you can just be grateful? Envy can give you stress while gratitude can help you produce more serotonin (one of the four happy hormones found in our body).
3. Envy should teach you not to underestimate yourself but to motivate you to do better in achieving your own goals. The people you are envious of? Make them as your inspiration!
4. The usual things that make people envious of others are appearance, work, economic status, and relationships. You can have all those and more if you’d work on them.
5. Envy can ruin relationships. Along with greed, envy has ruined many a relationship since the days of our ancestors. I am protective of my relationships as I want them to last long so I better stop being envious frequently.
6. To be envious of others is okay, as long as it’s on a healthy or competitive level only. Too much envy has the tendency to make you feel down. Depression is not good for your health. Also, too much envy can make people evil, so beware.
7. Being envious doesn’t kill a person but envy, along with other negative emotions, can make people kill other people. It’s scary but it’s true. Never let envy make you a criminal or somebody that your loved ones could disown right away.
8. You have the power to make the feeling of envy go away. Envy can only stay in your heart as long as you allow it to. Never let it destroy you as a person. Let it go before it becomes a disease inside you.
9. Don’t fall into the envy trap by stopping comparing yourself with others. There will always be someone prettier, sexier, smarter, and richer than you are. If you think you’re better than someone, that’s superiority complex. If you think you’re worse than someone, that’s inferiority complex. Both are psychological problems that would only make your life miserable in the long run.
10. When envious, always pray for guidance. We are all equal in the eyes of God. Ask for mental strength and a grateful heart. And perhaps, forgiveness if you became too envious on a few occasions.
11. Forgive yourself when you feel envious of others. And move on with it fast!
12. Learn to manage your envy. Practice makes perfect (self-explanatory).
In times of envy, I think the most important thing of all is to remember that we are all special. As they say, no one can do a better job at being you than you. We owe everything we have today to ourselves. If we wanted to have something, we should work hard for it. You know that classmate of yours in high school who never did his own homework and just copied answers from you during exams, he’s filthy rich now and you wonder why. It’s easy to be envious of others who have more, but if they put a lot of hard work into it before they achieved it then they rightfully deserve it. If they got what they have now by stepping on other people’s toes or through illegal means, then it’s not worth it at all to get envious of them. Like, seriously.
Now, it’s also a fact that we all have different priorities and ambitions in life. Some people want to be wealthy, others want to have an average but happy life. Some people want to work abroad or travel the world, others want to stay in the country or even work from home. Some people want a luxurious lifestyle, others just want a simple but comfortable way of living. Some people want to hoard, others want to be a minimalist. It’s all about making choices and living our lives the way we want to, if you catch my drift.
It’s okay to be envious of others but let’s not dwell on it for long and be consumed by it to the point that we would do something bad that we would regret later on. Let’s learn to be more appreciative (of other people’s successes) and grateful (of our own accomplishments) instead. Let’s not allow capitalism and social media (no matter how believable and tempting their standardizations, strategies, and claims may be) to dictate how we live our lives. After all, it’s our life and our happiness that are at stake here.
Any thoughts on envy that you’d like to share with me? Let’s talk about them in the comment section! 🙂
May you choose happiness always,