Don’t just sit there in that state of envy. And don’t push it away, smother it or put yourself down for feeling it. If you want what someone else has and it makes you feel bad, then maybe you need to take a closer look at what you really want in this life.
What dream have you been denying?
What gifts within yourself have you been ignoring?
Have you romanticised someone else’s life because you feel blocked in the creation of your own?
I used to envy artists. I felt I wanted the life of a successful artist because I loved the idea of standing at the easel in a well-lit room that looked out over a beautiful garden, creating lovely paintings, on my own, all day long. But you know, I’m not really an artist, I’m a writer.
So what’s the problem? Well it felt to me that it was easy for artists to be artists and that if I became a really skilled painter, then I could create that dream life. But you see, it’s much easier for me to write and the truth is, it’s not easy for anyone to live out their creative gifts to their full potential. Everyone struggles with their process as a maker of anything they feel inspired to create. Any creative pursuit requires hard work and often involves going through a whole heap of self-doubt, fear and self-loathing along the way.
As Elizabeth Gilbert writes in her fabulous book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear;
“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”
The envy I felt was misplaced because I was envying a fantasy. The person who becomes a good painter does so through lots of practice, many failures and many frustrations and in reality, they’re probably not a whole lot happier with their lives than I am. If I want to become a great writer, I must keep working at it. And bam shazam! The envy dissolves and I feel free to be myself.
See how this works?
Who do you envy? Take a good look at what it is you believe they have. Now ask yourself three questions:
- Is what you’re imagining they have really true, and is it the whole story?
- Is that what you truly want?
- Is what they have in any way realistic or attainable for you, in your current reality?
Because on that last point, if you’re living a pretty regular life with a mortgage and kids and bills to pay then how productive is it to envy a famous celebrity? Let’s bring it closer to home. Who among your friends do you envy, and what specifically do they have that you want? Remember, have a good think about whether they really do have what you think they do. Sometimes the appearance of wealth is actually immense debt, great relationships aren’t such a fairy tale behind closed doors and self-confidence is a mask for debilitating anxiety.
Now I’m not suggesting that we want to poke holes in other people’s happiness or doubt their authenticity but do you see what I’m getting at? It’s easier to sigh and wish we had what someone else seems to have, than it is to take the real action required to go out and create our own great lives.
We must simply begin doing what we want to do and stop making excuses about why we can’t. Because believe me, when we get out of our own way with this stuff, the universe rushes in to help.
What do you want to create in order to step free of the envy trap?
One of my special powers is to help people uncover their gifts and to blast away the blocks to their self-confidence and their courage to pursue a more fulfilling existence. Contact me for your free 15 minute chat to discover if you’d like to work with me in a three session process. Click here