Overcoming Envy: 8 Ways to Stop Being Envious of Others And Be Happy

Last Update on November 8, 2023 : Published on November 14, 2023

“Envy is the desire to have what others have, but it often comes at the cost of losing what we already possess.” – Anonymous

I won’t lie to you; there have been times in my life when I’ve felt a little envious of my loved ones because they have something I desired but didn’t have. It wasn’t until my later years I realized that being envious of others was making me lose sight of what was in front of me the entire time.

Envy is an emotion that has plagued us since forever. This feeling arises when we desire or covet what others have – be it their achievements, material possessions, qualities, or even relationships. And let me tell you one thing; feeling envious is natural. On the bright side, feeling envy can make us reflect on ourselves and what we have, but on the toxic end, envy can lead to resentment and bitterness.

Negative emotions such as envy and jealousy might be natural and experienced by all, but if left unchecked and unaddressed, these emotions can cause a severe negative impact on our overall well-being.

Today, we’re delving into the nature of envy, the kinds of envy we experience, and more importantly how you can stop being envious of others, so keep reading!

What is Envy?

Envy is a complicated emotion that arises when we see someone else having something we covet but can’t. This emotion can manifest itself in different ways. In some terms, it can be longing for a material possession that a loved one has but we don’t and in other terms, it can be simply feeling envy of others’ success and relationships that we can’t seem to have even when we want to.

More often than not, envy can stem from a sense of inadequacy which can trap us in a constant loop of comparison, leaving us feeling forever unsatisfied and unfulfilled in life.

The Kinds of Envy We Experience

Yes, while we feel envious, there are different kinds of envy we might experience. Some are materialistic envy while others are related to others’ physical appearance.

The most common kinds of envy that we experience can be;

  • Material Envy is where we covet others’ material possessions such as cars, gadgets, homes, etc.
  • Achievement Envy is where we desire the accomplishment and success of others such as promotions they receive, awards they get, or academic achievements they reach.
  • Social Envy arises when we desire others’ popularity and social status. More often than not, experiencing social envy can leave us feeling lonely, unimportant, and isolated.
  • Physical Envy arises when we covet or feel envious of others’ looks, body shape, or physical qualities. This envy is usually fueled by the beauty standards set by society and can cause body image issues and low self-worth if left unchecked.

Are Envy And Jealousy The Same?

I’ve heard many people use envy and jealousy interchangeably, but these two terms – or rather emotions – are quite different from each other. Where envy is about wanting something that someone else has, jealousy is about feeling afraid of the perceived threat of losing what you already have.

The common characteristics of envy can be;

  • Envy allows us to focus on what others possess but we lack
  • It’s the desire to claim or covet what others have
  • Envy often leads to feelings of discontentment, resentment, and bitter longing
  • This feeling is directed outward toward others

The common characteristics of jealousy, on the other hand, can be;

  • Jealousy makes us focus on protecting what we already have
  • It’s the fear of losing something – relationship, material possessions, or achievements
  • Jealousy can cause you to feel possessive, suspicious, and anxious
  • This feeling is often directed outward towards perceived threats as well as inward towards protecting what we consider ours

8 Ways to Stop Being Envious of Others

Feeling envious of others can hold you back from living a happy and fulfilling life. Yet, in the case of negative emotions, it’s not easy to let go of this green-eyed monster. These feelings and emotions are designed to help us strive and survive, after all. So, here are some strategic ways that can help you stop being envious of others.

1. Practice Gratitude:

To stop feeling envious of others you need to cultivate a gratitude mindset where you focus on what you already have in front of you rather than wondering about what you lack. You can use a gratitude journal to note small moments of thankfulness you experience every day.

2. Limit Social Media Use:

Typically, the envy we experience is born when we begin comparing ourselves to others. And this happens when we focus on what others highlight on their social media rather than what’s true in their real lives. So to avoid feeling envious, limit your social media use to prevent comparison triggers.

3. Look Within:

Instead of comparing yourself to others, look within, and focus on improving yourself and fostering your personal growth. You can do this simply by setting achievable goals and working towards them one step at a time. And when you’re at it, don’t forget to celebrate your progress and hard win along the way.

4. Celebrate The Success of Others:

Yes, you read it right. To stop being envious of others you need to train yourself to celebrate their success instead. Embrace the idea that others’ success and achievements do not diminish yours or make you lose your self-worth and the progress you’ve made so far in life.

Also Read: Moral perfectionism and What is It and how it stops us from being successful

5. Become More Mindful:

Mindfulness is another thing that can help you stop feeling envious of others. What mindfulness does is bring your attention to the present moment and allow you to reconnect with your emotions. So recognize when envy arises, acknowledge it, and then let it go.

6. Cultivate Empathy:

It’s always easy to look at others’ success rather than their hard work and challenges. So to stop the green-eyed monster from taking over, cultivate empathy to understand the challenges and hard work others might face despite the successes they display outward. Empathy can help you feel less envious and more supportive.

7. Inspire, Don’t Compare:

Instead of comparing yourself to others, choose to find inspiration from their achievements and success. Use their stories, progress, growth, and achievements to fuel your personal growth and development and allow that to inspire you to succeed as well.

8. Focus on Your Strengths:

Lastly, you need to acknowledge that what skills, qualities, and strengths you have are yours and unique to you. Embrace them as they are because your strengths make you unique and not everyone can possess what you do, so feel proud instead of envious. Remember that what you have makes you special and contributes to positivity in the world.

Wrapping Up

Envy is a powerful yet complicated emotion that can either push you in the right direction or steer you toward resentment, bitterness, and negativity. While envy is a natural emotion, it might not take much for it to become negative and turn toxic. Fortunately, there are some easy and effective ways you can stop being envious of others and embrace your success as yours!

I hope the ways I’ve mentioned in this article will help you stop feeling envious of others and make you feel more content and happy in life. Remember, life is nary a competition, but a journey of self-growth and discovery. So, keep going!

Let me know what you think about this article in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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