We are in the age of comparison, and as much as I want to blame this epidemic on the glossy magazines that we read, or the movies that we see, or FACEBOOK- I know that the comparison age is a direct response created by…us.
That being said, here are 5 ways to beat envy and end the compare epidemic:
1. Understand the Terminology
Psychologists agree that there is a distinct difference between jealousy and envy. This article will focus on the issue of wanting what someone else has that we don’t. The feeling is less: “I’m jealous he is dancing with that girl”, and more: “Another friend got a major internship, and I have not had one interview. Now, I hate her.”
2. Recognize that it is an issue
The first step in any rehab program is to recognize that you actually have an issue. In other words, get over your denial and start moving toward success. How often do you block people on Facebook or neglect your LinkedIn profile because your afraid to see the opportunities that everyone is receiving? That is an issue, especially because it is affecting the way that you interact with others professionally and socially. Do yourself a favor now- recognize that you have an envy issue and seek ways to solve it.
3. Rewire your brain
When I got to college, so much of what I learned in high school was disputed and challenged by professors. Though it was an unsettling process, I soon learned how necessary it was to my growth. In order to open your mind to deeper ways of learning, it is crucial to step back and try to see things in a different and more critical way. When you start to feel envious, the words that come to your mind and the reactions that you have are already hard wired. In order to change them, you need to (1) discover these patterns- note what you say and do when you are envious and (2) resolve to change the patterns- if you usually find yourself shutting down and running to your room when you start to feel envious, decide to go out and take a walk. Often, changing the pattern is the biggest step you need to overcome a problem.
4. It’s ALWAYS about you
No, really…it’s ALWAYS about you. When we are in the middle of an envy pattern, watching someone else excel professionally or personally, it is easy for us to hate the other person and become spiteful. In that moment, please remember this: it’s ALWAYS about us…and something we are either not working hard enough at or making a priority in our lives. I once saw a friend receive an awesome internship and though I was very happy for the person, I felt both ashamed and envious that I didn’t get it. The funny thing was: I never applied! I realized then that my envy was not about the other person, it was about me and the fact that I never applied for an internship that prestigious because I was afraid that I would not get it. My envy was a direct result of my unwillingness to believe that I deserved an opportunity like that. That is a lesson that I will always keep with me, and something that you should think about the next time you envy someone else. Ask yourself: What do they have that I can’t get without hard work and determination?
5. If you can’t beat ’em…
My favorite way of combating envy is allowing it to motivate me! Not only is this an intelligent way to beat envy, it is a way that leads to your growth and eventual success. Though I am pretty outgoing and love to make people laugh and have fun, I envy people that are confident with their charisma and don’t socialize in a way that whispers “like me, like me.” When I meet people now like that (my favorite example is Oprah Winfrey!) I try to follow and/or learn from these people in any way I can. I invest in books like Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I take a class on public speaking and attend as many events as possible to get better at communication with others. I understand why and where my envy stems from and treat it as a tool to motivate and prep myself for greatness! And, you can too.
Don’t be envious of this post. Follow the tips and build yourself up!