No Really, I’m Happy for You: Overcoming Envy

Have you ever had to say “I’m so happy for you” but how you felt couldn’t be further from the truth? I used to experience that pestering emotion quite a bit – envy. It’s not a cute look but simply not wanting to be envious doesn’t automatically make you rise to the level of Mother Theresa overnight.

Whether it’s someone getting a promotion, getting married, having a baby, taking a vacation, an apparently never ending closet full of shoes…envy can easily creep in and make a home for itself.

I find it takes root most easily when someone else has what you want or think you deserve. Let’s keep it real, before I got married when I saw person after person getting married I’d feel a twinge each time. Why hadn’t I found my soulmate? And if I was in a particularly unattractive mood the questions could become thoughts like – she’s not even a nice person, I’m such a better catch, this is not fair.

Envy is an emotion with no benefit whatsoever. In fact it often takes root and only leads to the fertilization of other negative emotions and reactions – anger, depression, low self-esteem.

Overcoming envy is an ongoing exercise. But fortunately, I can say from experience that it does become easier over time. However, like exercise it doesn’t happen while you’re “sitting down”. It requires conscious choice and thought. When I find myself entering an envious zone there are a few things that I find help to keep me from spiraling out of control.

  1. Acknowledge your emotion and why you feel the way that you do. You can’t affect what you don’t know exists. You can’t change something that you don’t feel you have control over. Being truthful with yourself is an enlightening exercise and vital to first owning and then changing your thought process.
  2. Count your blessings. There’s a reason why the phrase an Attitude of Gratitude is popular…it’s because it’s true. When you are in a place of gratitude and thankfulness, it’s hard to make room for other energy consuming and negative emotions.
  3. Never judge a book by its cover. You may think that someone is living the most amazing life. Maybe they are and maybe they’re not. You don’t know what struggles they may be experiencing in other areas of their life that aren’t visible to you. You also may not know their history and what they’ve gone through to be where they are now.
  4. Remember that you’d want people to be happy for you. Pretty self explanatory. The whole treat others the way you’d want to be treated concept.
  5. Being genuinely happy for others is better for your health. Negative emotions have been proven by research to, over time, have negative impacts on our health. Being healthy doesn’t end at eating right and exercising. Our emotional and spiritual health are just as important to address, nurture and monitor.
  6. Limit your social media consumption. This tip is a bit more tangible than the others and when we really think about it, it makes a lot of sense. For the most part people post the most amazing and positive highlights of their lives on social media. Flattering profile pictures, baby photos, and world travels. Heck, I’m definitely guilty of this. I don’t post pictures where I look bloated and I definitely don’t post disappointing or boring life events. As a result, when we log onto social media we begin to compare ourselves to others. If we feel we come up short, the negative emotions come rolling in. The social comparisons can be very damaging. So take a hard look at how often you are on social media and consider throttling back on how much time you lose reading up on every one else’s lives. One additional benefit – you can use the extra free time to do something you love and add value to your own life or loved ones. Check out this interesting article with research tied specifically to Facebook New Study Links Facebook To Depression: But Now We Actually Understand Why.

Overall, it’s important that we actively work on changing our mindset from one of envy to one of inspiration…and then using our now freed up energy to do… well anything!

~Here’s to…really being happy for you,
Nicole Selena