If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be? Why would you select that individual over others? Is it because of their personality, relationships, possessions, career achievements, or their overall lifestyle? The million-dollar question is: Do you admire that person or do you envy him or her?
In the age of social media, it’s hard to ignore what your neighbor is doing. After all, most folks reveal their entire life on social media. To make it worse, some people can’t keep their ego in check. For example, people brag about their expensive possessions, lavish experiences, luxurious vacations, perfect relationships, and of course, their physical attractiveness. (Yuck!) Everyone knows that some of their blabber is exaggerated, but it’s not unusual to think others have it better than you. That can take a toll on your confidence.
Your self-image and self-worth are influenced, in part, by comparing yourself to others. It’s also determined by contrasting who you are against who you want to be. That comparison can go one of two ways. It can be beneficial — inspiring you to become a better person. Or it can be detrimental — making you envious and resentful of others.
“They have more,
They have it easier,
They have it better,
They have it all,” you may think
Resentment can make you bitter rather than encouraging you to be your best.
Envy Is Toxic and Destructive
It’s hard to admit that someone could be more deserving of a good life than you. To rationalize that sentiment, some folks denounce successful people — saying they didn’t really earn their accomplishments. They “received an unfair advantage” or “secured their achievements by mistreating others.”
If you subscribe to that notion, you may conclude that life is unfair and that others are holding you back; this frees you from having to accept personal responsibility for your circumstances. Such thinking can lead to envy, resentment, and even anger.
While you may think that envious behavior is warranted, harboring resentment can hurt you more than you think. For example, it can:
Distort your sense of reality. If you believe you’re being treated unfairly, you’ll look for proof that supports that view. That thinking can progress into a downward spiral, making you angrier and more envious rather than positive and constructive. Furthermore, if you surround yourself with like-minded people, they’ll reinforce those beliefs, making it harder for you to shed that unproductive mindset.
Hurt your health. If you’re gloomy about your future, you’ll view every opportunity as a glass half-empty rather than as a glass half-full. That can be debilitating and have a negative impact on your psyche.
According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can increase your life span, lower rates of depression, offer better psychological and physical well-being, reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and enable you to cope better during hardships and times of stress.
Destroy positive relationships. Envy can turn friends into adversaries. If you think your friends’ accomplishments were achieved unfairly, you’ll resent them for their triumphs rather than be happy for their success.
Foster unproductive behavior. If you become consumed with envy, you may be motivated to seek retribution, and tear others down, even though their success may have no correlation to your success.
Damage your opportunity for success and happiness. If you believe the world is against you, you’ll be more inclined to give up than to invest in your future.
Look in the Mirror Rather Than at Your Neighbor
Just as you’ll never really understand someone’s problems until you walk a mile in their shoes, you’ll never fully appreciate the effort and commitment that someone made to achieve their success. Moreover, the more time you spend comparing yourself to others, the less time you’ll have to make your own dreams come true.
If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, chances are it’s getting better care.
There will always be people who have more, or less, than you. Get over it. Be grateful for what you have. Money should never become the cornerstone of your life nor should it define you as a person. It’s not what you have, but who you are that counts. The only way that you’ll achieve happiness is when you’re at peace with yourself and thankful for the blessings in your life.
Are You Happy For Or Envious Of The Success of Others?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
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Diana Elinam says
This information just came at the right time of my life. As a young lady such info will really guide me. Thank you Frank. I ill start looking at the mirror more than others. And work hard to perfect the lady in the mirror.
Frank Sonnenberg says
Good going, Diana!
Keeping up with the Joneses is like chasing a rainbow. While it might look beautiful from a distance, it will always be beyond your grasp.
You were born with a unique set of fingerprints. In order to realize your true potential, it’s important to be bold, live your own life, and accept responsibility for the choices that you make. According to Zen Shin, “A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
Thanks for taking the time to write.