I do not envy. I mean I worked on jealousy as one of the first things in my spiritual journey.
When I say worked I mean that I usually do a “workshop” on emotion. In this workshop I test and explore the emotion, if its effect on me is negative I try to manage it.
So, like anger management, I went through envy management.
Since I was a teenager I was envy at the other girls, more popular, more beautiful, like everyone tend to think… the neighbor's grass is greener. But because this emotion made me feel so bad, lowered my self-esteem and had a destructive influence on my life I had to diminish it. I worked on it since then, for years and successfully managed to control it and reduce it from my scale.
To make the journey short I can mention 4 steps that helped me. Emotions are very individual;
I believe each of you can find ways that will help manage an emotion for you personally.
1. Everyone carries a Pandora box.
The neighbor's grass is NOT actually greener. Every one of us is a human being and each of us is not perfect. We all carry with us memories, scars or stories that we do not share.
You never know what is going on in someone else’s life. And you shouldn’t care ;) as you do not want others to know everything about you. Remember that behind every beautiful series of facbeook pictures there could lie times of despair and misery… You do not know, so do not assume…
The thing is, it is a story we tell ourselves in our mind (about the neighbor). We can change the story, from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ and vice versa when necessary. If the story we tell ourselves makes us envy, we can change it to a different story. But the important thing to remember is to ask ourselves if this is the truth… Because if it is not the truth, we can see a bigger picture or more perspectives.
2. You are enough.
This is not emphasized enough. It may sound trivial but it is crucial, to love yourself, and to believe in yourself. Perhaps it even sound like a cliché, but I learned to stop being cynical about those and it helped me tremendously. When you know you are enough, when you totally believe in yourself, you do not seek the approval of others, you do not seek to be like others. And it doesn’t mean that you are perfect… just like all the rest who are not perfect. You have your own uniqueness, and you have to learn to accept yourself, with all ‘flaws’ because at the end of the matter – you are the only one who matters in your life. Stop envy others and focus on bringing your-self to the maximum.
3. Comparison and acceptance.
Think about it, comparison can also work to our advantage, when we compare ourselves with other people – we can choose to see the “good” that WE HAVE. Does that work? Almost never…. It is not like we are sad about something that happened in our life – but when we compare ourselves to refugees or starving people in a third world country- it makes us feel better; nope, it doesn’t work like that. Than why is it when somebody seems to be more successful than us – it has an effect?
Embrace gratefulness in your daily routine.
Make it a ritual to accept the things you cannot change and to appreciate everything that you do have.
It helps a lot to change the switch in your brain from focusing on others or on non-realistic fantasies, to accepting the here and now, and being thankful.
4. If it doesn’t serve you, let it go.
The whole point of emotion workshop is to eliminate emotions that interfere with your well-being. To me, envy was something to work on because it interfered with my happiness. If envy is not something that bothers you so much you can just repeat some of the steps when needed. If it something that take a toll on you, put some more thought into it.
We cannot really eliminate emotions, All of them have meaning in our life and to our survival in this world. Reducing them and letting them be there without a harsh effect on us – Is more achievable. In Buddhism it is called “taming” the heart.
When an emotion doesn’t serve you – let it go. Live your life without the burden of it, it is such a great feeling.
Envy can feel a little different when it comes to relationships, or the more used name for it: Jealousy.
For jealousy in relationships all of the above (described shortly, there is more depth to every step) can assist but there are more helping tools, I will elaborate on a separate post.