Deal with envy

Five Ways to Ease Your Envy

Life is full of reminders of what we lack. There is always someone who is more successful, more talented, more attractive, or more advanced in meeting milestones than we are.

We encounter these people every day—in fact, they are often our friends, family members, and colleagues. Sometimes these encounters can leave us with a bitter taste in our mouths and a green glow in our eyes.

Envy is a state of desiring something that someone else possesses. It’s a vicious emotion that can crush self-esteem, inspire efforts to undermine others’ successes, or even cause people to lash out violently. It also just feels horrible.

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So what can we do to disarm the green-eyed monster when it strikes? Here are five suggestions.

1. Acknowledge envy

Admitting that we are experiencing envy can be very threatening, because it means acknowledging our own weakness and insecurity.

The first clue that envy is lurking may be irrational feelings of hostility towards the object of our envy. Just the sight of them might make your skin crawl, even though they have done nothing wrong that you can put your finger on.

We are better off unravelling this form of vague resentment and identifying its green-colored root before it gets the better of us and damages our relationships. Paying attention to bodily cues may also be helpful, as certain forms of envy can trigger a “fight-or-flight” physiological response involving symptoms like increased heart rate, clenched muscles, and sweaty palms.

2. Recognize that pride is just the flip side of the envy coin

It is tempting—but generally unhelpful—to try to counteract envy with pride. “Sure, he has a nice car, but I’m better looking” is not going to get you very far. You might feel vindicated in the moment, but sooner or later someone is going to come along who has a nicer car than you and is better looking.

In other words, reassuring ourselves about our own enviable traits is unlikely to be sustainable, and it maintains the same unstable social comparison hierarchy where someone else needs to be put down in order for us to feel boosted up, and vice versa.

Instead of responding to the pain of envy with efforts to bolster your self-esteem, try self-compassion instead. Acknowledge that it is hard to see someone do well when you’re floundering, and remind yourself that you are very much not alone in your feelings of inadequacy. Even the most successful people suffer from self-doubt at times. Being imperfect is synonymous with being human.

3. Replace envy with compassion

Although envy seems almost like a compliment, it can be quite dehumanizing. It reduces the object of envy to something very narrow and masks the full picture of who they are and what their life is like.

Have you ever envied someone who seemed to to have the perfect life, only to find out later that they were in fact suffering in a very major way? These cases are more common than we might think—we just don’t have the opportunity to learn about someone’s difficulties when we’re mired in envy of their seemingly charmed life. (New research finds Facebook does not help things, by the way.)

It’s not that we should seek out others’ suffering, searching for chinks in their armor, but rather we should be open to seeing them in a fuller way, a way that will inevitably include both strengths and weaknesses, joys and sorrows. Doing so will allow us to notice things we may have otherwise overlooked—and as a result, be there for them when they are in need.

Appreciating a person in their fullness can also help us feel genuinely happy for their successes, a form of positive support called “capitalization” that has been shown to promote relationship well-being.

4. Let envy fuel self-improvement—when appropriate

When our envy is rooted in things we cannot change about ourselves, such as a difficult childhood, a traumatic event, or certain health conditions and disabilities, using envy to motivate self-improvement is more likely to dig us deeper into frustration and self-blame.

But sometimes envy alerts us to things that we want in life that are potentially attainable, if we’re willing to make certain changes.

For example, if you envy your productive colleague, you may find that you could be more productive yourself if you learned to manage your time better. You may even be able to get a few tips from him or her—upward social comparison can be a source not only of motivation but also of useful information.

5. Don’t forget to count your own blessings

As the saying goes, envy is counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.

Counting our blessings isn’t the same as boosting our ego by reminding ourselves how we’re better than others, as in the nice car/good looks example above. It’s more about refocusing on what is really important in life, and on the sometimes intangible or invisible things we do possess—and that are less dependent on social comparisons, like a strong spirit, a diversity of life experiences, or just the simple fact of being alive.

The bottom line: Envy drains our happiness and saps our energy. It’s appreciation that reveals abundance in places where we might have failed to look.

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5 Ways to Deal With Envy So It Doesn’t Steal Your Happiness

“Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to other people.” ~Unknown

Throughout this year I’ve noticed myself feeling envious of other people. Particularly, I would feel envious of the famous people that I would see on television, read about in magazines, and follow on social media.

I wouldn’t even be envious of them for the things one might expect. It wasn’t because they were famous or wealthy. It wasn’t because they had millions of followers on social media. And it wasn’t because they were good looking.

Still, I would find myself feeling envious of an actress if she had a better personality than I did. I would feel bad about myself for not being as outgoing or bubbly or expressive. I would feel like I wasn’t as likeable for being quiet and an introvert.

I would feel envious of another celebrity for her ability to live a fun and impulsive life. I would see the way someone else could take risks and not seem to worry about the future. This made me feel like I was too cautious, and that it would keep me from having an exciting life.

I would feel envious of a musician for the level of success she achieved. This would be especially true if the singer was close to my age. I would feel as though I was wasting my life away, while other people my age already had careers.

Whenever I felt this way, I always wanted to try to understand these feelings. Not only did I want to understand them, I wanted to make them go away.

I didn’t want to feel envious of the people that I looked up to. I wanted to feel happy for them.

So, I would think about the person that made me feel this way and I would try to figure out what specifically made me feel envious. I would try to list my own strengths. I would try to see that this person wasn’t so different from me.

When that didn’t work, I would try to ignore the feelings. When that didn’t work, I just hoped these feelings would just fade over time. But I couldn’t seem to get the results I wanted.

It became clear to me that I would have to learn to embrace my feelings instead. One thing I’ve come to realize is that you can’t really control how you feel. Feelings are not inherently bad. But you need to look within to understand what is causing them.

By embracing my feelings, I realized that I would become envious of different people for similar reasons. I was envious of the person with a more outgoing personality because I wanted people to notice me.

When I thought I was envious of someone’s success, I realized I was envious jealous of the friends she made along the way.

Most of my envy came from a desire to make more friends and have more fun.

On this path toward understanding envy, I remembered a time when I was younger when I would always get envious of my friends when they won trophies. I didn’t participate in sports, so there wasn’t any chance of me getting a trophy of my own.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize that trophies and awards don’t matter all that much. They can certainly help a person to feel good about his or her hard work. But what really matters is the journey.

What matters is playing the sport, or playing the music, or performing in the plays, or solving the equations. What matters is growing and becoming better than you once were. What matters is doing something you love to do. The trophy is really just a symbol of the journey.

If a person had a trophy, I would feel like she was better than me. I didn’t have one, so I would feel worthless. I didn’t realize that it represented something deeper. I didn’t understand the hard work or the journey.

Now that I’m older, I realize that I don’t get envious of people who win trophies or awards anymore. Coming to this realization gave me hope. It made me realize that envy is something we can outgrow.

Still, time is not the only remedy for unwanted envy.

5 Tips For Overcoming Envy

1. Look beyond the surface.

If we feel envious of someone, we’re probably only seeing what’s on the surface.

It might seem like a person has easily acquired success, love, and quite frankly, happiness, while we struggle to achieve any one of those things. However, it’s important to remember that life is a journey.

If a person has success, there is a journey that led up to it. If a person has love, there is a journey that led up to it. These things don’t happen overnight. They take time. And you have to give yourself time to achieve them, too.

2. Take some time to unplug.

Social media makes it so easy for us to see the best parts of other people’s lives. It can make it seem like everyone else is happy and successful, while we are struggling to keep up.

If you feel envious of someone, take some time to just focus on youtself. Do things that will make you happy, like taking a nice bath or drinking tea or going for a bike ride. Take some time to focus on things that make you feel good about yourself.

3. Look within.

If you are envious of someone, take some time to understand why specifically you are envious of him or her.

Maybe you’re envious of the person’s career or appearance or abilities. Why do you feel envious of that particular thing? Maybe it would bring you happiness. Maybe it would give you independence. It could be that the thing you really want can be achieved in a variety of different ways.

4. Know that your feelings do not make you a bad person.

When I’m envious of someone it can be frustrating, because I usually just want to be happy for that person’s success. So then, not only do I feel envious, but I also feel guilty.

We feel the things we do for a reason, and oftentimes we have to dig deep within to understand the true source of those feelings. Be patient with yourself.

5. Know that you are valuable.

If I feel envious of someone, it’s usually because I believe she is better than me. I’ll be envious of one aspect of that person’s life and think I am worthless because I don’t have that one thing.

The truth is that we are all valuable. You may not have everything you want in your life right now, but that does not take away your worth. You don’t need to compare yourself to others because you are perfect the way you are.

About Ashley Lilly

Ashley Lilly is an aspiring author. She enjoys writing fiction, poetry, and plays. She believes that creative expression is especially helpful on the path to healing and growth. If you would like to read her blog, click over to

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Psychologist's blog: how to get rid of the envious "toad"?

  • Elena Savinova
  • psychologist

The author of the photo, UNIAN

Caption before the photo,

Is it possible to get rid of the envious "toad"?

Whatever they say, almost every one of us at least once in his life has experienced, or maybe constantly experiences, an unbearable "toad" syndrome - envy.

And although this emotion is not as acute as jealousy, resentment or guilt, but, unlike them, it is quite long and stable. Therefore, it can pretty much poison life. nine0011

Why do some people envy, while others do not, and how can one learn to calmly perceive someone else's success?

Spiritual hunger

The fact that people have been envious of each other for a long time is evidenced by the numbering of envy among the seven greatest sins by the biblical prophets.

The Latin word invidia - corresponding to this concept - is derived from the verb invidere, which means "to look against" or, probably, disapprovingly, hostilely. The ancient Romans used this word when it came to antipathy, hatred, weak will, jealousy, rivalry. Therefore, these feelings were already known in those days. nine0011

By the way, envy is often confused with alleged jealousy for someone's better life. Although researchers believe that jealousy as such comes from love, and we are talking about at least three people. Whereas envy arises between two. But is it any easier?

The jealous people were romanticized by writers and playwrights - for they allegedly endure torments because of love (although more likely - because of wounded pride). Whereas the envious were simply despised as weak, incapable, greedy for someone else's. The Spanish philosopher and writer Miguel de Unamuno said in one of his works, "envy is a thousand times worse than hunger, because it is spiritual hunger." nine0011

Everything seems to be correct, but at the same time not quite. Let's not rush to condemn ourselves or classify some of our feelings as "bad". After all, from the fact that we "forbid" ourselves some kind of emotion, it does not disappear, but is only driven into the subconscious. It is much more difficult to understand something previously tabooed.

Learned helplessness

Photo credit, BBC World Service

Photo caption,

The tendency to constantly compare yourself to others can be instilled in childhood

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, if a person has a sense of non -completeness in a person’s success. , and luck is the impression of his own deprivation, which means that he himself is empty, unhappy and he seems to have nothing to live with. So about spiritual hunger, Unamuno was partly right. nine0011

Remember the happy periods of your life, did you care about anyone? Why, then, when we are dissatisfied with ourselves, we "transfer arrows" to others?

There are several reasons. For example, a heightened sense of justice leads us to believe that someone is lucky solely at our expense. This causes "righteous" anger. But no one promised us that life would consist only of pleasant things. By the way, such supporters of universal justice usually successfully mask their own inactivity by the fact that they are chronically unlucky. nine0011

Since, in their opinion, happiness is a constant value, it means that someone else gets it at that time. Envious people almost always have an external locus of control. That is, they see the reasons for their failures in someone or something, but not in themselves. And instead of asking myself if I did everything in my power, they willingly “appoint” someone, in their opinion, more successful, to be guilty of their own failures.

The next reason is the tendency to compare oneself with others, combined with an inferiority complex. The roots of this are in childhood, when parents, apparently trying to develop in us a desire for healthy competition, also compared their children with the best intentions with those who ate better, dressed faster, memorized poems. The comparison was, of course, not in our favor, and therefore the effect was exactly the opposite. That is, we remember well that we can compare ourselves with someone, guided by the criterion of "better or worse." Moreover, "worse" has always been about us. nine0011

And although these identifications are only in our imagination, the realization is imprinted for life: no matter what we do, there will always be someone else who will be better (more obedient, stronger, smarter). Psychologists call this state of learned helplessness.

But comparing ourselves with others is inadequate, just because we feel ourselves around the clock. But we see someone for a few minutes, and then - only the front side of success.

Someone became a genius, someone became a boss...

The author of the photo, ap

Photo caption,

Buying new boots by a friend can cause more envy than buying another yacht by an oligarch - because the friend is socially closer a person who causes envy to look confident or have a high level of wealth. Maybe you should not envy, but regret?

And would you agree, for example, to give up your favorite business, not to see your family, to get up at dawn to buy an expensive car or a large apartment? Do you need it? As it was said in a poem popular in my student days: "Someone has become a genius, someone has become a boss, do not regret that you did not get their troubles. " nine0011

Envious people are also people with a high level of expectations, too demanding of themselves and others, dismissive. It is difficult for them to understand that they are working so hard to achieve something, and some, in their opinion, "upstart" gets everything easily and without tension. Offended by someone else's success and for those who are accustomed to control everything. Like this? I did not give consent to someone's happiness!

It has been established that the closer people are in social and material status, the more likely they are to envy each other. That is, we will be more "annoyed" that a friend bought beautiful boots than that some oligarch bought another yacht. nine0011

According to research, people are most envious from the age of 18 to 27, but this unpleasant feeling of those who are over 60 lets go. what you have yourself.

Comparing oneself with others sometimes encourages self-improvement - this is the constructive side of envy, its "white" hypostasis, so to speak. But no matter what this "toad" is - white or green - it still irritates, gives rise to unpleasant sensations and a bad mood. nine0011

With all the diversity, all those subject to envy have a common feature - this is an orientation towards external success, a desire to appear beautiful instead of being beautiful.

What to do with these envy: HoldYou recommendations

What to do with these envy: HoldYou recommendations

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Envy is a feeling that is familiar to every person. At least once in a lifetime, we have devalued our efforts, while admiring the successes and achievements of others. Envy is white and black, a person decides what to feel. nine0011

It is important to remember that negative emotions first of all have a destructive effect on the one who experiences them. Your colleague or friend is unlikely to feel the power of your envy, but it will reflect on you. We rarely realize that the causes of many diseases and ailments must be sought in ourselves. What we broadcast to the world is reflected in us. Is envy always a negative and destructive feeling? Or can it be a motivator, a catalyst for personal growth? Let's figure it out.

Envy is needed to understand oneself

At first glance, the statement seems strange and absurd. But really, envy helps to better know and understand yourself, your desires and goals. Envy, as an unproductive emotion, in itself does not cause any harm. You can draw an analogy with weapons. It is not evil, it all depends on who owns it and how it uses it. The situation is the same with envy.

Our response to presented stimuli depends on the level of emotional intelligence. From how much we can understand what is happening to us and the people around us. How to influence the situation and respond to the appearance of negative emotions. Everyone has their own reasons for envy. For example, someone from the environment has something that is not available to you: a car, an apartment, popularity, etc. The absence of this causes vulnerability, we experience discomfort. In this case, a person has two ways: to do everything to get what he wants and to reconsider the goals, to understand why this is important. Often people are not psychologically aware of what they need, so they want what others have. nine0011

It may be that envy is a painful longing for something. An obsessive idea that completely takes over the mind. Such a desire is associated with one's own set standards and the desire for superiority.

If used correctly, envy can become an impulse and help you examine your needs and desires more closely.

Envy is unproductive, reflexive and selfish

Envy is not an essential part of our culture. It can be assumed that it originates from ancient times. But as we look at biblical and other examples, we take our modern judgments about this feeling and transfer them to prehistoric times. Not taking into account the fact that in the past this situation could have had other interpretations. For example, the philosopher Oleg Aronson believes that “white envy” does not exist, it is only a way to reflect. Compare it with the ancient tradition of competition. nine0011

Envy is a selfish, unproductive emotion. In a society that is not focused on material goods, social superiority and political power, envy will be inappropriate.

Signs of envy and triggers

an envious person can be determined by several phrases and signs:

• False Joy

With your success, an envious person will first begin to scatter in congratulations and compliifications. Words and reactions will seem sincere, but anger and aggression are hidden behind them. nine0011

• The phrase “I don't need anything”

Envious people often try on the image of a victim. They are characterized by depreciation of themselves and comparison with others. If you hear such a phrase, know that in front of you is a person who is envious and, moreover, seeks to manipulate.

• "It's nothing special"

When someone from the environment achieves the best result, while the person himself is experiencing difficulties, it is difficult for him to survive someone else's success. He experiences emotional instability. Therefore, by all means he is trying to devalue your efforts and merits. nine0011

• “Serves him right”

An envious person will rejoice in someone else's failure and failure, not realizing that mistakes are part of growth.

• “Lucky for him”

Instead of making every effort and succeed, the envious person will spend energy and internal resources on negative emotions, discussions and gossip. Envy is a powerful emotional trigger and difficult to recognize.

How to use envy to your advantage? nine0018

To understand yourself and use envy to your advantage, use the Three Questions exercise:

• Why do I envy?

Sometimes we may not be aware of the reasons for envy. To direct it in the right direction, it is important to understand what caused it. For example, if envy is related to the success and material well-being of others, think about how to get it. Change jobs, find an additional source of income, etc.

• What do people do to get what they want? nine0018

Don't expect to be given step-by-step "how to succeed" instructions. But you can take someone else's ideas as a basis and refine them.

• What can I do to get what I want?

When there is a goal, it is much easier to move and develop. Write down specific steps on how you can achieve the desired result.

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