OH MY this is a juicy topic! And I am so excited to discuss it!
See, over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been privy to about 5 different conversations all revolving around the concept of envy, specifically the feeling we get when we see someone we know being successful and the resulting feelings we experience of insignificance, frustration, defeat and helplessness.
- You see someone you know “getting in shape” while you yourself feel like you are struggling to just maintain your weight.
- You see a friend of yours building an online business or starting a blog and getting lots of traction, and while you, too, are trying to do that, seeing her be successful makes you feel like you’re flailing and failing.
- You catch wind of a friend who made a lot of money on a product launch or a job offer, and you think, “Gee, I wish I could make that kind of money,” and you begin to feel depressed.
- You and your husband embark on a new diet together and 2 weeks in, he’s lost 15 lbs while you (who is putting much more into the process, AND making all of his meals I might add!) have not lost a pound.
Any of these ring familiar?
These are certainly normal human reactions, it’s so super common, which is why I wanted to write on it. BUT, it can also sabotage your own efforts because we start to think things like, “Why even bother?” or “So-and-so is already doing it better than me, so I should just give up.” or “How come we are both doing the same things and yet I’m not having that kind of success? I must suck. Life is unfair!” etc etc.
When we think these things, do we feel MORE or LESS motivated?
Less, right? We want to throw in the towel. We feel overtaken. We feel like a failure.
Is envy the same as jealousy?
I think envy and jealousy are different, though often they are interchanged. I believe jealousy has a bit of a negative connotation. Like, we not only covet what the other person has but we also wish them to NOT be successful. This, IMO, is more ill-willed. While envy is straight-up wanting what someone else has—wishing them well, but also wanting the same luck/success/outcomes as them.
THIS IS AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: We feel envy because we PERCEIVE that someone else’s circumstances are superior to ours. We choose to believe that they have what we want.
Could we … simply want what we want? Could we choose to want our journey, as seemingly inferior as it is? Could we choose to be in our place doing our thing, racking up our own understand and fully experiencing our own path? Could we choose to WANT do things OUR way?
When we are clear, we know this. We know intellectually that we don’t want what another person has. We just want to feel the power of manifestation that we perceive that person has: “Gee, so-and-so just launched their business and they already have more Facebook Likes than I do, and I’ve been doing this for a year.”
I get this, totally. BUT. Could you instead think about the lessons that YOU are getting as a result of your process? Maybe you could look at what YOU actually want, and see that the way your friend is attaining success is not the way you want to do it.
I’ll give you an example from a friend of mine. She was frustrated because a friend of hers started an online fitness business after being inspired by my friend. The friend started her business after my friend began hers and in a matter of weeks racked up more fans and followers than my friend. There were feelings of betrayal, envy, frustrated and helplessness. So when she told me this story and told me that it “made her feel bad about herself,” I told her understood and then I asked, “What she’s doing in her business, is it the exact thing you want to be doing too? Is she doing what you want to do?” And her answer was, “No. Actually she’s getting so many fans from posting pictures of herself half-naked and that’s not my thing.” <—There’s your answer! You want the SUCCESS of the person, but you don’t actually want to be them. You want the outcome, but not the path they took, necessarily. You want to be you, don’t you? You want to do you and have success. Perfect. Now we are getting somewhere :)
I felt similar years ago when I was deep in my competition days. I would be in my “off-season” and I what I felt like at the time was fat as shit and stuffed into clothes, embarrassed to be seen in public, hiding behind baggies t-shirts, nevermind posting current pics, are you insane? And then I’d be watching (on Facebook, obviously) someone getting in shape for an upcoming show. I’d check out their bathroom mirror selfies, full-on abs popping and think, “Gah! My abs are flabs right now! I suck!” I never felt more insignificant and helpless in my life. I remember thinking, when I saw people “eating clean” every day and making it look effortless, “Gah! Whyyyyyy can’t I do that? I suck!” Again, I never felt smaller, fatter or less in control of my outcomes/life/success.
I don’t feel like that anymore about physique stuff. I’ve let my desire to be the leanest person on earth go. I prioritize liking myself and not stressing over everything else. I started finding ways to feel affirmed and worthy that didn’t revolve around my physique.
And I know what I’m about to say may sound kind of bitchy but in the interest of transparency and honesty, I want to share it. And it actually really helped me make the mental switch I needed to stop comparing myself and being miserable: I started PITYING people who were eating cold asparagus out of plastic baggies in their car. I stopped seeing it as disciplined and hardcore, and I started seeing it as a sad existence. I know they don’t feel that way, of course they don’t and shouldn’t, but that’s the whole point–this is 100% about your PERCEPTION. Neither of us are right by the way, but the perception that I chose, at the time, is what helped me feel more confidence and competent, and ultimately able to move on.
And I don’t feel envy when it comes to business either, though I had much less of that than in the physique realm. Some of my very best friends have 60k+ fans on Facebook. I love that. And I share their stuff (even though they don’t really need my help, obvi!), but I love what they’re doing, I support them however I can, and I don’t feel like their success has any bearing on my ability to succeed.
Why? Because this is my truth:
I DON’T EVER FEEL ENVIOUS BECAUSE I DONT WANT ANYONE’S EXPERIENCE BUT MINE.
I can separate someone else’s success from my potential success because I see that the two have zero to do with one another. This is what I consider an “abundance mindset”–there’s enough money, happiness and success to go around. In fact, the more I help, collaborate and praise others, the more my own insecurities fade and the more my own success blooms. It just is.
So my reality is that I choose this:
I want to do things MY way. I want to focus on MY passions. I want to feel 100% in line with my purpose at every turn and I certainly don’t want to have to be someone else to achieve some arbitrary success.
I once listened to an interview with Mark Cuban. The interviewer asked him if he could be anyone in the world, living or deceased, who would he choose? He said, “I’d be me.”
I agree with him. Because when you get down to it, when you take everuthing into account, when you really think about it … who’s better?? <—THIS is confidence.
And when it comes to envy and jealousy, I just don’t have it anymore because bottom line: I like me, and I want to be me. And I rest easy knowing that I consciously CHOOSE to be exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing, even if that means I’m not currently attaining some perceived success that I should be. My journey is my own, and how can I regret that?
Can you say the same?
And if you do, does it make you self-centered? Does it make you arrogant to like yourself and want to be you?
Because I look at it 2 ways:
- I can choose to see it as arrogant and self-centered, OR
- I can view NOT wanting to be me as a never-ending black hole of misery. Certainly wanting to be in someone else’s shoes does make me miserable, does it not? It makes me feel helpless and defeated.
Loving your reality and liking who you are is the answer. And so isn’t this a confidence problem then? I think it is. And the fastest way to build confidence is to TAKE ACTION.
Ultimately we feel envy because we feel out of own power. We feel like we can’t make things happen that we want to happen, and all the while—look over there!—someone else is making their dreams a relative. This contrast can feel debilitating.
And so, how do we get back in our power? We make moves. We take action. We get shit done (or as we say in my Best of You club, #GSD) :)
The fastest way to get back into your power is to take action.
So, in that way, can envy be useful??
My girl (and co-host at #createNYC) Amber Rae has a tool she uses with clients called, “The Envy Map,” and it’s a way to help you direct your focus and hone your purpose. If you see someone having success in an area that you, too, would like success, it might give you insight into a place you should move. It may actually HELP you to take action because you see an example of where to go.
I like that. Because I think the take-away is that envy without action is misery.
Do what you need to do to get back in your power. Because I don’t know about you, but once I start making moves, everything starts to flow. My confidence builds (“OMG, I can actually do this!!”) and with confidence comes our ability to DO more (competency). This is the Confidence-Compatency Loop, and it is a feed-forward cycle. Take action, gain affirmation, gain confidence, get more competent, do more, and on and on. But it starts with an initial action step:
How do you stop the constant comparison & start OWNING your own path?
5 Ways I’ve Managed It:
- Stop getting on Facebook and judging up every photo and status update. You’re only comparing your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel and it doesn’t serve you. It’s defeatist. And anything that anyone else is doing has absolutely nothing to do with what you can and will do. Byyyyyeeeee.
- Stop incessantly reading everyone else’s stuff. This just muddles your own path because now you start having considerations: “Gee, this person is putting up naked selfies to get fans, maybe I should do that??” No. This takes out OUT of your power and makes you feel like you have to be someone else to make progress. You don’t. And the more you own your unapologetic authenticity, the more realized you become.
- Stop giving a shit what other people are doing. Jade and I were talking about this exact thing the other day and he said, “You have to honestly stop giving a shit about anyone else.” Not in the human-to-human sense of course :) but in the sense that you realize that what other people are doing and their successes have NOTHING to do with what you’re doing and your own ability to succeed. Everyone’s good. And so are you.
- Take action. Just do something. Anything. There’s nothing more empowering that productivity. Don’t overthink this. Like Seth Godin says, “Just make more decisions.” Why? Because you either win or you learn. No downsides.
- Work to get over your “not-good-enough” stuff. We call this the NGE. We all have it. It’s our insecurities and they manifest differently for everyone. But so long as on the inside you feel unloved, unaffirmed, incapable, impotent and unsuccessful, no amount out outside feedback can change this. And likewise, you are even more susceptible to view other people’s successes a personal affront to your NGE. We see what we want to see. And if our bias (mostly this is unconscious by the way) is that we suck, then, whaddya know? We will search out and “see” those perfect scenarios to reinforce that self-view. We just will. We won’t see the good stuff. We can’t. We’ll only see the ways in which we are lacking, and we use other people and things “out there” to shine the light on our own NGE. This is why getting past feelings of envy and jealousy have more to do with the way you see yourself than anything anyone else is doing. Because remember, the gal who’s Facebook Likes you are envious of is just doing her thing. She’s good. It’s just that for you, she acts as a mirror into your own NGE. Like Byron Katie says, “Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.” Daaaaaang. This struggle serves a purpose, and that’s ultimately to give you the opportunity to work on your own “stuff.”
I could go on and on and on about this stuff! IT IS SO FUCKING JUICY! :) But, as per usual, this blog is already too long, and I want to leave some insights for the 2.0 version! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please hit me up on the JillFit Facebook page with your own insights, questions, struggles and triumphs. Love, Jill
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