5 Tips to Move Beyond Envy and Start Enjoying Your Life

5 Tips to Move Beyond Envy and Start Enjoying Your Life

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own. – Harold Coffin

Some years ago, I shifted into a mindset that eliminated envy from my emotional repertoire.  There is no need to envy me, because I’m going to share how you can do it too!  Now I would be remiss if I did not mention that this purge didn’t happen overnight.

In fact, it was a long twisty-turny journey before I clicked into my envy-no-more cure.

Plus, I really had to put my back into it.

NOTE: I still experience what I call “seasonal weather envy.” It was a long winter where I live and my body craved Vitamin D like nobody’s business.  I categorize this form as “envy lite.”

Half the fat of regular envy, with none of the nasty aftertaste!

During my earlier envying days— years—the seeing-green-potion broke down like this:

1. a passel of self-pity,

2. a dose of existential longing

3. a dusting (or douse) of resentment for those who appeared “better off” than me.

I would go all Charlie Brown-in-tight-jeans and wonder: why hasnt life smiled on me as much as it had on others? 

Sigh

During high school, where most envy actually incubates like a Sigourney Weaver-better-watch-out- Alien-esque pregnancy…

There was a girl in my class who was, in my opinion, the nicest and prettiest person…EVER!

I mean, she never had a “not pretty” or a “not nice” day. In addition, she was a good student, overall well regarded in our community, and had a good looking boyfriend who doted on her.

I used to look at her with envy/admiration and think, “Wow, I bet she doesn’t have ANY problems. This chick has it made!”

Of course, this was a ridiculous projection on my part; a naive idea that there was such a thing as a “problem-free” existence.

One day, with a heart full of sincerity I finally asked my pretty subject of perfection projection, “Do you have any problems?”

She was caught off guard, but she gracefully replied with a quizzical giggle, “Of course I do, Alix,” as she headed to her seat in the back of our French class.

She was so nice, she didn’t make me feel dumb, even though I was being pretty dumb.

I was not just being dumb about her, but about life in general, thinking that anyone gets through life without challenges.

Then for most of my twenties, I continued to hold onto the idea that certain people were “set.”

Again, ludicrous.

Yes, there are people who may be born with certain perceived advantages, or success seems to come to others early, but this no guarantee in life, merely a minor head start.

I first began to leave envy behind (though this green monster still badgered me for rides home long after I’d attempted to ditch her) once I’d realized these five things…

rainbow quotes

5 Tips to Move Beyond Envy

1. Our Story is Only Partially Written…

No matter who we are or where we come from, at any given time, our story is only partially written. This is a great life unifier and everyone has something to deal with, sooner or later.

2. Building Your Aptitude for Gratitude

Building my aptitude for gratitude in my own life on a daily basis allowed me to deeply connect to my own path and embrace how my life actually serves me, not thwarts me.

 3. Running Our Own Race

We are all here to run our own race. Looking over into someone else’s lane with envy is how I’d easily trip, like running in untied shoes.

However, when I switched from being green with envy to gleaning inspiration, I truly began to create a life that I love.

Not only that, I’ve accepted that I have to go at my own pace, which brings me to…

4. We are not all meant to do things at the same rate

We each have a unique timeline. We are not all meant to do things at the same rate.

And lastly (now one this is pretty huge):

5. If We Envy it Means That…

If we envy someone else, it’s like we’re unconsciously telling the universe we feel less worthy to receive and achieve than someone else, which is, of course, hogwash…

And a mixed message we do not want to emit, right?

Yes, we live in an instant-fame-quick-success-giant-wealth-worshipping culture where envy is more challenging to withstand than ever before, but maybe this is the point.

Perhaps we are being called to fall more in love with our own lives, warts and all, each day.

And to convert green envy into golden inspiration and sunny motivation…

So that we can build the lives of our own dreams and profound admiration…

Have you ever felt jealous of something? How did you tackle that green-eyed monster? Please, share your stories in the comments below.

Photo by Christian Haugen

  • Josie Rock

    Hi Alix!! Just read this, and I love it! I used to envy people and I still do sometimes, but today I always try to be sincerely happy for another person’s life – when I see photos of their travels, their perfect families, their lives, their retirement and on and on. I learned though, I need to be happy for other people’s lives, which really helps me and it makes me feel good, envy does not feel good. I need to be happy for others and in turn, it makes me happy, it is correct thinking, and after all – it’s not about me, when I take myself out of the picture, it makes everything better, it frees me. I am at work and kinda rambling, hope this makes sense! xx

  • I often wonder why we tend to compare ourselves to someone else, to someone else’s life if all of us are unique and one of a kind? It is as if we would attempt to compare peaches and oranges: both great, but different…

    I know how envy tastes like. It’s bitter. I know how it’s like to compare yourself to someone… someone whom you put on the pedestal and think how everything about them just BETTER.
    For years I’ve been telling myself those “little” stories why someone else’s life is better than mine without realising how blind and ignorant I was…

    We need to stay present in the moment and stop distracting ourselves with someone else’s life.

    We need to start by blessing our lives and every little thing which makes it great… ;-]

  • Lizze

    Another great blog/words of wisdom, Alix – Thank you so much! When I think of how I came to face my jealousy I think of a couple of things. First, in my 20’s a friend of mine quoted a friend who was in AA, “Don’t judge your insides with someone else’s outsides.” So true. I was constantly judging people as less than or more than me. A couple years later I read about practicing being non-judgemental in one of Deepak Chopra’s books. That was hard, but I tried it and found that I really was happier not assuming negative things. Then one night on SNL Al Franken spoofed a motivational speaker who coined a phrase I’ll never forget, “Compare and Despair.” Didn’t that say it all? As soon as I would start comparing people, places, and things, it was depressing. Either I’d fall short in comparison, or I’d be mean spirited and putting someone, something down. Why? I was torturing myself. The only person who can control my thoughts is me. I don’t need to put myself or anyone else up or down. Why not honor who I am with acceptance, forgiveness, courage and heart? You’re right, Alix, we are all running our own race. Now i ask myself, why is that person making you feel uncomfortable? Figure it out and work on it. Or I think, what’s with the compare and despair? This is something to celebrate for someone else, if you like what they have, work on it yourself if you want! uncomfortable = opportunity for self awareness and change.

    • Alexandra Hope Flood

      WOW, Lizzie!!! Thank you for this inspiring and thoughtful comment!! All so well put — and I hadn’t heard that funny (yet profound) Al Fraken/Stuart Smalley line before. I really appreciate you sharing your own journey here too! It is something that everyone deals with to some degree or another and our challenge is, obviously, how to manage it and make it *work* for us.
      I like your “uncomforable=opportunity…” formula too — terrific!! A great guideline!!
      Love,
      Alix

  • Alexandra Hope Flood

    Hi Having Timers!! I just want to say “hello” and let you know that I love comments, questions, and discussions, and I will respond to all of you… so please don’t be shy! 🙂

    • Jennifer T.

      Thank you so much… I needed this today. It’s so hard sometimes to really move beyond envy and I am still struggling. Sometimes I really go to the dark place consumed by the jealousy, but at the same time I understand that I should shift my focus elsewhere and simply be content with what I’ve got.

      • Alexandra Hope Flood

        Hi Jennifer, Thanks so much for commenting + I’m glad to be of service! Something occurred to me perhaps I could add as an addendum to my article: Releasing envy doesn’t mean we have to “settle” for what we have, but if we turn our attention to what we do have that is wonderful and then build our lives out from there, we then really step into more of our own power to creating the lives we want.
        So, you’ve got the right idea! Run that race!
        And thanks for sparking a new level of understanding for me. 🙂
        Love,
        Alix

        • Heidi B.

          indeed, gratitude is a steadfast foundation on which to build 😉 Thanks for the reminder.

          • Alexandra Hope Flood

            My pleasure, Heidi! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂
            Love,
            Alix

          • Pooja Bhatt

            Great dose of inspiration, Alexandra !! It took me back to my School days ; I can somehow relate to you as even I considered myself to be dumb compared to the other pretty faces in school. The thing was repeated in the coming years… I kept on wandering why do I don’t have this quality of being popular ; bundle of joy ?? what is that the other friends of mine possess and I lack ?? What do I do to be famous ? In search of these questions, lost myself in the envy , lost myself in the translation !! Then came a moment, when something struck me hard* and made me realize ” It my life ; my walk ; nobody can walk it for me .” I want to live ; my life ; my way.

          • Alexandra Hope Flood

            Hi Pooja!
            Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment!! Woohoo!! Yes, live your life YOUR way and it will be wonderful!!
            Love,
            Alix

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