Envy is a very toxic feeling that can poison almost any part of our life and any of our relationships. We can hide it, or we can openly demonstrate it to the world, but there’s no doubt that either way it makes us suffer and sometimes the pain is pretty intense.
What’s even worse, envy can be very hard to fight. So hard, in fact, that today people say it’s normal to feel it occasionally. But it’s like saying that pain is normal – it makes you accept it and calms you down a bit, but the pain itself doesn’t vanish.
I remember a period in my life when I wasn’t getting envious at all, not of anything, not of anyone. And I’m lucky to know for sure that it is possible to be envy-free and be happy for success and well-being of others, as well as to give freedom of action to the loved ones.
After getting bitten by envy bug for the first time in my life and suffering from it, I began to analyze why and how it happened. I wanted to understand the reasons why we get envious, the process of how we become infected. I knew that it wasn’t the circumstances that caused envy, because given the same circumstances some people become envious, but others don’t. I saw that it wasn’t the outside factor making us envious, but rather something within us. And gradually I managed to discover these 3 real but hidden reasons why we get envious.
1. Belief in competition.
Our deep inner beliefs have a direct influence on how we see the world. If we were always compared to others when we were young, we could grow up believing that we are competing with the rest of the world. In this case we automatically think that we have to achieve the same or more than people around us, otherwise we will be losers. And since nobody wants to be a loser, we try to “keep up” or “outrun” people around us, feeling envious of them and their achievements when we think we fail.
But there are no losers in life and we have to question this inner belief in competition. Do we have to compare ourselves to the others? Does our success depend on them? Is our happiness directly connected with what they do or don’t do?
The moment we realize that every person is on their own individual journey in this life, we will feel our tension dropping and our envy vanishing.
2. Belief that happiness is somewhere outside
This belief is a major problem for us today. We can get envious when someone gets something that we want but don’t have, such as a nice car, house, yacht, etc. In reality we are not envious of things that person has, we are envious of happiness we think this person has by owning these things. This stems from the belief that happiness is somewhere outside, that it’s scarce and not everyone can get it.
We need to question this belief by looking at happiness levels of people in different circumstances. Are there chronically ill or disabled people that feel happy? Are there people who don’t have anything, like tribes living in the forest, who are happy? Are there rich and healthy people who still feel miserable?
If we look carefully enough, we will see that happiness has very little to do with objects, circumstances and outside world in general. When we understand this, our envy subsides, as we don’t feel like someone is stealing our happiness anymore.
3. Belief that I’m not good enough
We know that we have this belief, when we don’t even look around or compete with anyone – we just know that they’re better and we are not that good, no matter what. We can become envious of anyone for any reason that we can imagine and there is no need for the other person to even do something, because our perception will do all the work. No need to say that this envy will go hand-in-hand with severe jealousy in our relationships, because we will always be scared to lose our love with so many better people around us.
This belief has to be questioned too. We can start by asking why do we think we’re not good enough, writing down the reasons and then challenging them one by one. It’s a very deep belief and will probably need some time and bravery, as well as help from other people, to analyze and understand it. But once we understand that we are free to choose our beliefs about ourselves and once we choose to replace this negative belief with a positive one, the envy will go from our relationships and we will be able to love people freely.
But the most important belief that we have to challenge first, is our belief that envy is normal. If we see it as normal, if we accept it as an integral part of our life, we will never be able to cure the emotional pain that it brings.