3 steps to get control over your envy.
How many times have you caught yourself glancing over at another person thinking they have got all the luck? Great relationship, successful career, money in the bank. Maybe you’re even thinking things come much easier for them, than for you. Seems like they don’t have to work as hard or make as many sacrifices as you. Well, things are not always as they appear. In fact, they rarely are. Unfortunately, being plugged into social media increases feelings of envy by not painting an accurate picture. You are only seeing what people want you to see, not the complete truth. The full picture includes success and failure mixed in with plenty of disappointment.
Every time you project your inaccurate stories onto others, as if they were blank screens, you do yourself an injustice. You’re feeding the green-eyed monster, envy. Why in the world would you want to do that to yourself? Isn’t life hard enough? Envy robs you of the ability to feel happy for others while making you feel inferior. When envy takes hold, you can find yourself cutting others down in order to lift yourself up. These reactions might feel good in the moment but can have a toxic effect on your self-esteem long-term. Here are some steps that will help you to stop feeding your envy and start feeding your self-esteem.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Life is not a competition. Everyone is born into this world with unique gifts to give. Instead of wanting what someone else has, invest your time and energy into figuring out what you have to offer. Don’t be a copycat. Stop fighting your authentic self. Pay attention to what easily brings you joy and happiness. We all have things we do well and things we don’t do so well. Instead of beating yourself up, just embrace your truth. Maybe you can sing like a bird but have two left feet when it comes to dancing. So what, it doesn’t mean anything. Instead of putting yourself down because you can’t dance, embrace the fact that you can sing! Stop torturing yourself by believing that, if you could possess what they have, it will bring you happiness. Strive to go through life with honesty, integrity, grace, and self-acceptance, rather than abandoning yourself and wishing you were someone else. When you start to embrace the idea that you are unique, you will drop the urge to compete.
Pay attention to your inner dialogue when feeling envious. Where thoughts go, emotions follow. When you find yourself admiring someone else’s success and have negative thoughts about yourself, stop immediately. Get off that spiral headed down. Instead, replace the negativity with nonjudgmental awareness and acceptance of the experience. For example, when your best friend lands a fantastic role on a hit show, and envy starts building up, say to yourself, “Good for her, she deserves it. It will happen for me too.” You don’t need to add any drama to the situation. Just stick with what happened and stay away from commenting and criticizing it. When you stop negative obsessing and start choosing to respond with more accuracy you will tolerate difficult situations with more flexibility and openness. While you can’t control the waves of life, you can certainly learn how to surf them.
Replace thoughts of scarcity with thoughts of abundance.
Envy likes to think that there isn’t enough to go around. Not true! Get yourself out of poverty mentality. There is plenty of good stuff out there for everyone. Relax into the perception of abundance whenever your thoughts get narrow minded and claustrophobic. Widen the lens and see all the wonderful things you already have. Gratefulness is the antidote for envy. Don’t let envy bully you around. Choose to focus your thoughts on all the blessings in your life, and positive feelings will follow. Remember you are the author of your life story. What kind of story are you creating for yourself?
Envious feelings are ultimately destructive. They leave you feeling like a victim and sap your creative energy. If you continuously feel unsatisfied, you may be experiencing your present life through childhood wounds. It’s best to face them, understand them and ultimately release them back into the past where they belong. It is through understanding and self -compassion that you can open up to the abundance before your eyes, let go of negative thoughts and be the best version of yourself possible.
I’ve created The Conscious Actor Inspiration Journal; to help actors develop awareness of what inspires them. Beautiful pages filled with inspirational quotes to help keep you strong minded. For New York actors, the journal is available at Drama Book Shop Los Angeles actors may pick up the journal at Paper Chase Press.
Conscious Actor articles are not a substitution for professional psychotherapy.