Change envy into a more powerful emotion


May 14th, 2006 by Sit up a Tree

When was the last time you came across someone who had something or could do something that you didn’t have or couldn’t do.  Think back.  Did you see someone in a car that you wish you had, or a house, or a job.  Or maybe it wasn’t a thing but a skill, like playing the guitar, a sport or communicating in a foreign language.

How did it make you feel?

  • Did you feel envious?
  • Did you feel jealous?
  • Angry?
  • Inferior?

The emotions that envy bring out in most people are, on the whole, negative ones.  People see something (either a physical thing or maybe a skill or a relationship) that someone else has, and they see a void in their own life.  This bring up negative feelings.  The bigger the void the bigger the negative feelings will be.

I’m not saying that negative feelings are bad (negative feelings can drive us to do great things) but left unchecked, negativity can become all-consuming.  When you find yourself starting to become overwhelmed with negative feelings, stop and examine the situation.  Feeling bad isn’t going to make anything better – actions are what’s going to cause any change, and the best way to cause change is to ask better questions.

Here are some better questions that you can ask yourself:

  • “Did I want what whatever was making me envious before I actually saw it?  If not, why?”
  • “What are the specific things (these are usually either skills or disciplines) that are ”
  • “How could I get to have XYZ?”
  • “What skills does the other person have that, if I had them, would allow me to achieve the same results?”
  • “Is changing my goals and priorities to achieve XYZ worth it?”

By asking these questions you are focusing your mind in a much positive way, examining the reasons behind why you might not have what you desire, but also, and perhaps more importantly, whether it is something that you actually want or just a passing fancy.

If come to the conclusion that you do actually want the thing or skill that you are lacking, then thank your mind for making you envious (because that’s what made you notice it in the first place) and then, using the answers to the questions above, start working out a way to achieve your new goal.

Now isn’t that far better than just stewing in your own anger?

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 14th, 2006 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Personal Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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