We are all guilty of that deadly sin, Envy. We all want what others have, or or at least to have some of it. Why is it that we find it so hard to celebrate our friends’ and colleagues’ successes fully? In my case, I am ever so slightly envious of their success. Ok, very envious. Wish it was me. Why wasn’t it me? How could they choose her?
These are not the thoughts of a healthy person. Yet, I suspect they are more common than we like to admit.
Envy, to be turned into a positive, needs to be used for self improvement. I envy Olympic athletes, for example – their hard bodies, the accolades they get, the dedication they show. Yet, I am unlikely to emulate them and start training for Rio in 2016.
So how, then, do we turn envy into a positive emotion? Say, achievement. Or admiration. Here are three ideas to ponder.
1. When you find yourself experiencing envy, try to dissect the emotion. Is it envy or is it regret for a missed opportunity from your past? If it is regret, then can you change something today to achieve or do what you missed out on before?
2. Can you use your envy to become better at something? Instead of spending time on such a negative response, can you study what led to the success you admire in order to emulate it? What can you learn from them that can help you become more successful?
3. This one is hard, but can you learn to truly celebrate others’ successes? Congratulate them. Tell others about their achievements. Nominate others for awards and recognitions. Just maybe the very act of celebration will make the envy disappear so that true joy for others’ accomplishments can emerge.
Until we can turn envy into a more positive response, we will never achieve the success we are capable of.