When I was a young dancer I was always so frustrated with my body shape. I had the heart of a ballerina but the body of a larger athlete (actually, I had the body of one of Hugh Heffner’s girlfriends. If only I had appreciated it at the time *sigh*).
All I wanted was to be the lithe, waif, floating weightlessly across the stage in feathers and tulle. I was so jealous of the naturally tiny dancers in my ballet classes that I made myself miserable. I starved myself and felt desperate. It thought it all came easily to them and I was so envious that I held myself back — and probably annoyed all of them with my complaining.
All I could think was that I couldn’t be a “real” ballerina and it blinded me to my actual possibilities. It took years for me to recognize that the envy I felt was the only real obstacle. I was talented, loved dancing, and could’ve been truly joyful.
I have since learned to recognize the green-eyed monster when it creeps in because the biggest killer Joy, Creativity, Productivity, or any Abundance is ENVY.
Envy: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck
Feeding envy is the most effective way to fail at achieving your goals. It is pretty easy to slip into it without realizing it, so be aware of it when it creeps in.
How do I know if envy is creeping in?
Envy is a sneaky little emotion that will hide in a thought or a conversation. Here are a few ways of knowing if you’re feeling envious — or if someone is feeling envious of you:
“Must be nice….”
We’ve all heard this one. You did something you’re proud of or had a good thing happen to you. It comes up in conversation naturally and gets shot down with a, “must be nice for you” and an eyeroll. After that reaction, you feel apologetic for your accomplishment or good fortune. Never let anyone steal your joy. And check yourself if this is your reaction to someone else’s good news.
“Of course YOU could do that, you haven’t been held back by X, Y, or Z.”
Here’s another one — your accomplishment was unearned because it is perceived to have been easier for you than it should. First of all, no one else knows how much or how little effort went into something. Does that even matter? Serena Williams may be naturally strong and coordinated — but that doesn’t lessen the value of her efforts or the brilliance of her victories. She overcame obstacles we didn’t see and don’t get to judge.
“Easy for you..”
Do not begrudge a person their blessings because you think they were unearned. The world is made better by people making the most of their achievements, blessings, and good fortune. If you spend all of your time being envious of Gisele’s beauty, Serena’s talent on the court, or J.K.’s storytelling skills then your own creativity will go on unused — drained by envy.
Here is what to do (and only spend time with other people who do this too):
Be sincerely happy for the good fortune of others.
Even if all they did was buy a lottery ticket they deserve their good fortune.
We all know the power of gratitude to bring happiness and clarity. Envy does the exact opposite. Be grateful for the good fortune of others as well as yourself. Here’s another way to look at it — we get to enjoy Gisele’ beauty, Serena’s talent, and J.K.’s stories. I’m glad they’re all blessed with these gifts and have the drive to cultivate them.
If good fortune or achievement is greeted with shade, resentment, or negativity then ENVY has crept in.
Envy is a destructive force. Push it out of your behavior and do not continue conversations where it is directed at you. You’ll be happier and more likely to achieve your own goals this way.
*Daniella Bozzone is a mindset and habit writer. Check out her website at daniellabozzoneauthor.com and sign up for weekly encouragement.