Let me start by saying, I am no stranger to envy. Just this morning, I found myself on Instagram–envying people. Comparing myself. Doing exactly what I know I shouldn’t do. While I’m in no position to climb up on my soapbox to teach you how to be envy free, I can show you how to transform envy into something productive. Let’s look at it through the lens of three key questions that envy loves to ask.
When will it be my turn?
I used to tell myself to be patient. I’d say, “Your turn is coming. Blessings are on the way.” This mindset kept me envying other people’s turn and overlooking today, in favor of some tomorrow. Patience is important but it’s more than simply waiting for results, resolutions, blessings or anything else. It’s about seeing the goodness right in front of you and being grateful in the moment. Even when you are uncomfortable. Even when you are uncertain and scared, nervous about what will happen next. Even when you are working hard and stretching yourself to fulfill a dream. Be patient by embracing the journey for the growth and the love, not for bragging rights or proof of your worth. Be willing to experience everything your journey has to offer and don’t try to skip the lessons that life brings to you. Otherwise you will always feel unsatisfied, focused on lack, eyeing what other people have, overlooking the abundance that is available to you in the moment.
Why does everything work out for her and go wrong for me?
Imagine being able to see into everyone’s soul. If our insides showed on the outside, would we compare and compete so much? Would we make so many assumptions? Or would we be able to see more clearly that we’re all human and complex inside and out? Secrets. Problems. Dreams. Insecurities. We would see the abuse that successful woman had to overcome to get where she is. And we’d see the grief that one walks around with every day–all the people she’s lost and the sacrifices she’s made. We’d see how much the seemingly confident one dislikes herself and how gentle the mean one used to be before life beat all the hope out of her. Comparison is everywhere, all the time. But if we look a little deeper, into others, and ourselves we can see that it’s an illusion and we can choose to respond to it differently. Left unchecked, comparison turns into envy, competition and of course, distraction.
Why do I feel invisible and unimportant compared to other people?
When you feel small, maybe even invisible, it’s not a sign that you don’t matter. It is a reminder to pay attention to yourself and be yourself, no matter what your circumstances are or who you happen to be that day. It has nothing to do with what you think you need from other people. The longing for attention can sneak up on you, telling you that you need something to happen, a spotlight maybe, a big deal. Something that proves you are special. Remind yourself daily that you are fully capable of honoring yourself. Take time to notice what makes you feel stimulated and alive. Surround yourself with inspiration. Enjoy your own company. When you find yourself waiting for someone to see you or fill you, catch yourself, and learn how to give yourself what you need. When we don’t give ourselves this attention, we can find ourselves doing unhealthy things to get some light from someone else.
Start there, in your own space, with an admitted desire for love and attention. Don’t be ashamed of it. Many of us are never taught to be present and in tune with our more complicated emotions. Maybe you were taught to only embrace happiness and to repress any shadowy feelings. Our environments teach us by example to compare ourselves to other people to determine our own worth, success, beauty, and status. So it’s no wonder we have such a hard time rewiring ourselves from this way of thinking when we discover how much it’s hurting us. But we can learn to approach our shadows — like envy, shame and self-doubt — with open curiosity and become more intentional with our energy.
GG Renee Hill is an author, speaker and advocate for self-discovery through writing. She creates books, courses and events for women who crave honest dialogue and inspiration for the joys and challenges they face every day. Blog // Twitter // Instagram