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3 Reasons Why Envy is Harmful

We live in a world of technology and information that feeds our desire to want what other people have.

As we scroll through the beautiful pictures on social media, watch the online videos of people living their best lives, and read about other people’s wins, it’s no wonder that envy starts to set in. Our brains are being trained to want what we see. Even if it’s not real. Even if it’s not ours to have. Even if the pursuit damages our confidence, self-esteem, and progress.

We are inundated with false and faked narratives. Filtered pictures make us feel visually inadequate. Edited videos trick us into believing that everyone else is getting it right on the first take. Images of perfect smiles, on perfect faces, with perfect families lead us to wonder why life is not treating us right. It can lead us into the valley of resentment, comparison, and insecurity.

Have you ever been there? In a place where your joy is blocked because of envy: “A desire or longing for the possessions, qualities, or stature that someone else has and you don’t.”

I’ve fallen victim to the comparison trap which has led to envy. I’ve been guilty of minimizing my blessings and gifts because they didn’t measure up to what someone else was doing. I have seen another woman’s success and wished I could do it the way she was doing it and accomplish what she had obtained. Does that make me bad? No, it makes me human. Thankfully, awareness has helped me grow from comparing and envy to daring to be unique in my voice and choices.

Here’s the truth that I’ve learned to embraced, “The more authentic I am, the more blessed I will be.”

This truth helped me to kick comparison and envy to the curb. It’s empowering me to show up as I am, push record, and publish even if it doesn’t look or sound perfect. Even if it’s not as “amazing” as someone else, it’s divinely mine. My growth and self-assurance have allowed me absolute permission to show up everywhere…AS ME. 

That “me” is unfiltered, flawed, and still fabulous.

But, back to envy. If you’ve been feeling envious of the accomplishments of others lately, here are “3 Reasons Why Envy is Harmful.”

Reason 1 | Envy can be mentally and socially harmful. Envious people tend to have lower life satisfaction and self-esteem, and higher rates of depression, anxiety, and anger issues. Enviers often spend their time seeing other people’s wins as their losses. This way of perceiving and believing makes more accomplished people “the enemy.” As a result, envious people tend to condemn, criticize, and demonize those they believe have “taken” what is rightfully theirs. In this context, envy can be viewed as a socially harmful construct. The more accepting we are of envy that transitions into hate, violence, and oppression, the more toxic it becomes to society.

Reason 2 | It’s a distraction and hindrance. Watching and wasting energy on coveting what another person has is a drain on the brain and time. Instead of feeling bitter or resentful toward another’s accomplishments, direct energy toward your own dreams and aspirations. By redirecting your focus, you’ll be amazed at how much you get done. As your progress grows, you’ll realize how little time you have to watch others from the sideline. You’ll understand more fully that window shopping outside other people’s lives will never get you what you want.

Reason 3 | It damages relationships. Imagine being friends with someone who is envious of you. How do you picture that friendship turning out? In relationships where envy rears its ugly head, there’s competition instead of collaboration and there’s displeasure and resentment toward the wins of a friend. Envy in friendships may look like this:

  1. Being silent when you share your good news.

  2. Minimizing your accomplishments by saying “What’s the big deal, I can do that.”

  3. Discouraging you from pursuing your dreams and goals.

  4. Lack of support during an important time in your life.

  5. Pointing out your flaws and what you did wrong.

  6. Overshadowing your success by bragging about what she/he is doing.

  7. Ghosting you during a successful season in your life.

Envy may be hard to spot in ourselves and in others, but the more aware we are the better we can manage this emotion. At the root of envy is insecurity. It takes root in our own feelings of inadequacy. Building confidence is one way to grow away from envy and comparison. The better you feel about yourself, the less threatened you feel by the success of others.

If this was helpful, please share it with your sister circle. Let’s continue to rise in confidence together.

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