Six Life Hacks for Eliminating Envy with Kirsten Farris
When I think of March, I see green. The color green is often associated positive things like St. Patrick’s Day, balance, growth and Kermit the Frog. On the other hand, green is linked to feelings of envy and jealously. If you have been on the planet for any length of time, you have probably experienced this little green monster, and for the most part, when we feel envious, it is not a positive experience.
The difference between envy and jealously
In order to eliminate envy, it’s important to understand the difference between envy and jealousy. Think of it this way, if envy goes out to dinner, it’s a party of two–you and the thing you want that somebody else has. Jealousy might require a reservation because it needs a table for at least three–you, the thing you already have, and the person or people trying to take it away. The reason I make this distinction is that envy can become a motivator because you’ve identified something you want. On the other hand, jealousy is focusing on what you don’t want, i.e. somebody flirting with your significant other and taking them away.
Now that you are clear on what envy is, here are six tips that will allow you to transform and eliminate it from your life.
1. Embrace it
Envy can be a good thing. It shows us our ‘opportunity gap’ between where we are and where we want to be. In an ideal scenario, the person you envy can become a role model or mentor. However, when your feelings toward someone turn into hostility, blaming and getting a voodoo doll resembling them, you are actually dealing with resentment and regret dressed in envy’s clothing. While it can be uncomfortable admitting that you feel inferior or insecure in a particular situation, once you acknowledge that you have room to improve, you have just taken your first step toward bridging the gap.
2. Separate the person from the “thing”
Most of us at one time or another can look at somebody and think, “WOW! I wish I had what they have.” In fact, if you have ever created a vision board, the whole idea is to gather pictures of things you want, including people’s physical attributes if you are so inclined. Then, you take all of your pictures, glittery glue and marking pens and you creatively assemble them on gigantic piece of poster board. (The modern version of vision boarding is using Pinterest.)
Regardless of the methodology, the idea is to create a magnificent vision of your future that is so juicy your mouth waters each time you glance in its direction. For most of us, this is a motivating exercise because our focus is on the things that we want, not the person per se. When you feel envious of a certain person, take them out of the equation and identify the thing or characteristic that you are drawn toward. If you want to put icing on the cake, take a few minutes and imagine how you would be if when you possess what they have.
3. Turn Envy into a Process
One of the ways people create issues in their life is when they take a feeling or process and turn it into a noun. In essence, we take something like envy, and act like it is a piece of clothing that you can wear. The next time you start thinking something like, “Good Grief. If I had that horse and those outfits, I could win a World Championship too. Why do I even bother showing?” Try asking yourself, “How am I envying myself right now?” This simple question shifts your attention from something you have no control over to something that you have the power to change.
4. Nothing Fixes Everything
Let me break it down for you. No thing fixes everything. This is the “If only I had (fill in the blank) then my life would be perfect” trap. When we put our happiness on hold because we don’t have the expensive horse and ride with a big name trainer, we are selling ourselves short. The key is to figure out what the thing would do for you. If you think that unlimited funds would solve all of your problems, how would you be with your bottomless bank account? For most people, the word freedom comes into play. If you had your dream horse with your dream trainer, would you be more confident? Even with your Amazon Prime Membership, you can’t buy either, however, with some soul searching and a plan of action, you can take steps to create more freedom and confidence in your life.
5. If you could be anybody for a day, who would you be?
This is one of those trick questions because no matter what person you pick, you are choosing to be you. That’s right. You are choosing to be you because you are inserting your dream day into the life of Oprah Winfrey or Taylor Swift. Unless you are Oprah or Taylor, you have no idea how they feel and live moment to moment. In fact, if they got a glimpse into your 24 hour daydream of being them, they would probably want to be themselves too.
6. Get Perspective
Unless you’re a professional, the “Horse Show World” is like owning a time share in Fantasy Land where we can go to escape reality. However, most of us have a life outside of horse shows that demands our time and attention. Just for fun, add up how many hours each month are spent on actual horse activities and how much you spend on everything else. If 80% of your time falls into the non-horse related category, is it creating 80% of the goodness in your life? If not, you have just found an empty field of dreams to harvest some joy and happiness. When you become truly grateful for all aspects of your life, including the flaws, the only person you will ever envy is you.