Shut ourselves in a cage of nothing but emotions and instincts, and we ensure our own suffering. Envy is a cage, a vicious cycle that feeds on a person’s insecurity. As it is with every emotion, it is up to us to take charge. Use it as fuel to surge forward, or allow it to conquer us and eat at our sanity from within.
How do we do that, though?
1. Be the person you envy. Imagine that a colleague secured a promotion which you thought you deserved. It’s normal to feel defeated and overlooked, so let that wave of resentment pass over in silence. Now imagine yourself in their place, thinking of how happy you would be, and how you would think of someone who frowned upon you at that time.
It’s funny – if we could only see ourselves in the mirror during certain times, we’d be much better people, just from the knowledge of how ugly we appear.
Think of the joy, of all the difficulties they might have endured, and feel genuinely pleased, because you’re now in their shoes! Being upset about it surely won’t make it any better, so be happy for them and let it go. Maybe something far better is waiting for you right up the bend!
2. Remember that nothing is permanent. No one is ever always at the top or at the bottom. Change is the only constant. Perhaps someone else is in a better position today, but tomorrow, it might be you in their place, or even higher up.
Power and position change hands, as do every material possession at one time or the other. Accept the good and be prepared for a change in fortunes, pride will not touch you. Accept the loss and work for tomorrow, jealousy won’t either.
3. Negative thoughts can only harm you. We are not our thoughts, but they certainly have a profound impact on us. We can’t help the thoughts we have. They rise and fall like waves in an ocean, some vile and cruel, others benevolent and wise.
Observe your thoughts by all means, but remember that whatever you put into your world, you get back. Giving a negative thought too much attention will only give it power to hurt you. A tiny shadow of envy can grow into poisonous hatred if allowed to flourish, so be in control.
4. Accept that no one is flawless, even you. When a person receives something better than what we have, we tend to point out the many faults in them. It is as if we’re trying to convince ourselves that they didn’t deserve it at all.
However, we refrain from evaluating our own faults. We know no one better than we know ourselves. We know every bad experience, every slight that we’ve gone through. Can we claim to know the same about another person?
It is our imperfections that make us beautiful. And on some level, we deserve the rewards and rebukes we get. So do all the others.
5. Love yourself. Above all, be kind to yourself. Jealousy sprouts from insecurity and fear, from a subconscious feeling that we’re not good enough. It is in fact an acknowledgment from our part that the person you’re jealous of is better than us.
There will be people better than you in any given situation, but you may be better than them in some other area. If you work diligently, you can even excel at the area of focus.
Never undermine or over-emphasize anyone’s worth. All of us are equally important, and have our own parts to play in this stage called life.