When you are not in a great place it can be so easy to envy other people’s lives and lose sight of your own happiness, especially when we have become a society of sharing so much, with pictures and descriptions of exotic holidays, wild social lives, loving relationships, and glamourous homes all across social media, how can we not be affected by it?
There can be great comfort in sharing misery and discomfort together but what happens when the person, your co-conspirator, the one you have shared all of those times together with, starts to move away from the misery and towards their happiness? it can feel unsettling and scary, who else are you going to share that beer or bottle of wine, that tub of ice cream, those late night calls and texts with, be truthful, there is a part of you that wants them to stay ‘stuck’ with you.
People who come into money either through things like the lottery or just simply through working hard can often feel the sting of being shunned by some family and friends through envy and resentment of the lifestyle they are able to enjoy due to their success.
When we see someone else happy or their lives changing for the better envy and jealousy can creep in and change our behaviour. Although not positive emotions to feel or exhibit they can also be a wakeup call as to what we are allowing or not allowing into our own lives, or that we are in a place of ‘stuck’ and can’t see a way forward.
It’s important to remember that happiness isn’t always permanent and that our lives will generally ebb and flow, with both positive and not so positive times running through it, and no matter how much money we have or status we hold that will be the same for us all. We will all generally experience loss, sadness, and days which don’t feel as light as others.
So how can we choose happiness over envy?
Well firstly there is not a limit on happiness, just because you are not feeling it right now it doesn’t mean you never will, nor does it mean that someone else’s good fortune takes away your potential for happiness, their happiness is not personal to you.
Work at celebrating other people’s success and good fortune, kindness is a wonderful trait to demonstrate and definitely something to practice. I like to believe that what we give out we get back, so you never know, spread a little bit more kindness and it might just come back to you one day!
Practice gratitude, it’s a great antidote for envy. Yes, the other person may be celebrating a great experience or a positive change to their life, but focus on what YOU have, what do you have to be grateful for? You might have some great things right under your nose, they are just masked by envy…
I see and hear every day ‘I don’t have..’ ‘I wish I had…’ I’m this, I’m that, all with a focus on what they don’t have! What if you didn’t have the capacity to focus on what you didn’t have, only what you do have? Try it, practice it, see how it can make you feel when you only live your life in gratitude!
Use the feelings to generate questions, for instance;
What are these feelings reflecting for you right now?
What are they highlighting about your life for you?
What do you believe is missing from your life?
You are having these feelings for a reason, look inward, dig deep!
Use the feelings to prompt you to take action..
What are you holding onto to that you need to let go of?
What do you need to change to bring you greater happiness into your life?
And when you find your answers ask yourself…
what do you need to do to bring about this change? Who can help me?
And most importantly how can I help myself move from envy to happiness?
How would your life look and feel if you knew what is was to be truly happy, to wake up each morning looking forward to the day and going to be bed at night thinking ‘that was a great day?’