Constructive Envy

Envy is a complex emotion that can be very destructive. At its basic level, it is a feeling of resentment and disappointment that we don't have something that others do. But used in its positive form, it can be a motivating factor in many people's lives. It can create the drive and ambition towards having these things for ourselves.

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Although often a painful emotion, it can be interpreted as a signal or wake-up call.  A reminder that steps need to be taken, a motivator to take positive action.  Valuable though this may be, it also has the potential to be very damaging.  

With envy, the person we admire is also the object of our hostility.  We may resent or feel uncomfortable with their success.  Often this can lead us to acting in ways that eventually undermine our own interests. So, you have to ask yourself, what do you think you are going to get out of feeling this powerful emotion.

When you experience envy, you have usually measured yourself against another and arrived at a negative conclusion.  This then starts to impact your sense of self worth, increasing your feelings of insecurity and vulnerability.  So, rather that wallowing in envy resolve to take steps to get your own life on track.

The Benefits To Experiencing A Negative Emotion

Using comparison as a motivational tool is a much healthier option.  Reflect on where you feel you are lacking.  By developing self-awareness you begin to be able to recognise and understand your own strengths and weaknesses.  Consider how you can be inspired by comparison.  Knowing yourself a little better helps protect you from merely coveting what other people have.

Getting envy under control may actually help you gain greater success.  Currently we live in the age of envy, career, income, children, holidays etc.  Try to shift focus to the good things in your life and remind yourself that nobody really has it all.  By following your own path you begin to create the opportunity to reach your full potential.

Set yourself attainable goals, this will help you to develop confidence and motivation.  This can be a gradual process, but it’s often these small consistent changes that have the biggest effect.  This exercise may require you to change old behaviours.  As you re-frame your perspective and shift your focus from others to yourself, you begin to invest energy into your own strengths.

Seeing The Positive

Improving your life is all about making better choices and taking positive action.   For example, if you need to grow your bank balance, then start to budget – this could be the vital first step in reaching your goal.  Small successes will start to encourage a positive mindset.

When you start working on yourself, don’t be afraid to learn from others. No matter what you want, there is likely someone out there that has already achieved it.  Find out what they did, study their behaviour, implement what you are learning. In analyzing others and seeking to develop the same for yourself, envy can play a powerful role for the good.

The upside to envy is that it helps you to pay attention to people who have what you want.  If we choose not to resent them for what they have and admire them instead, we become inspired to use their success to fuel our own actions towards achieving our own goals.  In its positive form, envy signals an unfilled need and can turn into a great motivating force.  

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