No one in their right mind ever wishes ill-will upon another, right?
So why do we sometimes feel such a contradiction of emotions when someone we know has a good fortune?
Why do we suddenly feel inadequate?
Perhaps it’s not an issue with what we’ve done with our lives, but more a challenge of overcoming envy and our own insecurities about who we are and what we’re capable of doing.
The Evolution of Envy
No matter how evolved a species we fancy our kind to be, there will always be certain emotions that will make it difficult in overcoming envy.
Maybe this instinct dates back as far as prehistoric times when one caveman would kill a beast and have plenty of food, while the other caveman was not as lucky and staved that night. Even though he hunted and killed the animal fair and square, the other one was jealous when he had to go without.
Maybe it’s no longer beasts we kill, but the fact that we get passed up for raises, promotions, a lucky break, or a great spouse. How do you feel when someone you know gets a better job, a bigger paycheck, or finds a great opportunity? Yes, of course we congratulate them on their good fortune. But what goes on behind the scenes?
Feelings of Envy
Here’s a simple question for all the My Money Design blogging friends out there: “How do you feel when you read other posts about how much money other blogs make? How do you feel when they boast about their +$2,000 month income?”
You can try to tell me that you’re 100% happy for them and the world is just filled with rainbows and kitty-cats. But I’d be willing to bet that something, even if it’s just a little bit, stirs beneath you as you read it. Maybe you’re a little angry, or maybe you feel sad because you’re not performing as well. The point is that you FEEL something.
This post isn’t intended to promote hatred or encourage animosity. It’s often been said that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. If you don’t recognize a problem, then there’s nothing we can do about it. So if you agree with me that you do feel such emotions, the next question is what are we going to do about overcoming envy?
Overcoming Envy – Recognizing an Opportunity
Just because you’re programmed a certain way doesn’t mean you have to stay that way forever. We don’t have to hate the success of others and realize that it is merely a challenge for overcoming envy in our lives. Here are a few of my own tips:
1) Realize it doesn’t matter. So someone else is doing great. Good – but big deal! You’re the only one who tends to your business! And you’ve got plenty to worry about besides what other people are doing.
2) Remember that everyone has their own definition of success. Maybe being rich and living in a big house is important to you. But for some people, maybe they’d rather be helping out others, serving their church, or doing something else to enrich other lives. We all have a different definition of success. And what may be special for someone else might not fit into what you’re trying to do. Only you can define what is important for your life.
3) Hatred only consumes you. Being angry or frustrated is a normal human process, but it is not very productive. Don’t spend too much time in this phase and move past it as quickly as possible. Overcoming envy is critical for your success.
4) Nobody’s fault but my own. To borrow a line from a really great Beck song, you need to realize that your life is the sum of your actions and decisions; no one else’s. Only once you take responsibility for your own lot in life can you figure out what path you’re going to take for overcoming envy and moving ahead.
5) Don’t get mad, get even. Let your competitive side shine! So that raise or promotion WAS important for you? Then great – go get it!! Stop complaining! Figure out a path that will get you there and do it already!
6) Learn from their good fortune. If one thing can be said about someone else’s good fortune, its that you could learn from their example and try to re-create it for yourself. Back to my blog income example, how did they make so much money? Learn from them and try to duplicate it!
7) Keep things in perspective. Its okay to want more – we all do. But sometimes we get so caught up in our desires that we forget about the things we DO have. Don’t take for granted the things you HAVE accomplished and what it took to get there. To someone else, you may be THEIR idea of success.
Readers – Confess with me – do you feel just a little a little frustrated or angry over other people’s success? Be honest. More importantly, what do you do about overcoming envy?
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