Envy: What It Means & How It Can Help You

One of the "Seven Deadly Sins", Envy is a powerful emotion that has been shown to actually produce physical feelings of pain in your body.

Those of us that have experienced this emotion can easily remember how overwhelming it can be.

There have been several times in my life when I have felt overwhelmed by envy. In graduate school when my friend received accolades (well deserved) for her work, I wanted the same recognition for my own hard work.

Fast forward ten years, when my oldest daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s. I watched as a mom and her "typical kids" enjoyed playing at the park. Envy was followed by sadness as I wished my daughter could enjoy things the way other kids did and knowing my life would never be "normal."

When my close friend earned a prestigious position at work that gave her opportunity to travel all over the world, doing "great things." I felt envious of her lifestyle, her freedom, and her experiences.

So what is envy exactly? By definition, it’s a feeling of discontent or resentful longing brought on by someone else’s possessions, qualities or luck. Most people agree that envy can be a destructive emotion...however, I would like to offer a different perspective.

Next time you feel the stab of envy, I suggest:

1: Identify what is at the core of your feelings. Sometimes we don't realize we have certain desire for our life, until we see that someone else has it.

2: Use it as fuel for change. Allow envy to create the motivation to go after what you really want in your life.

While some things might seem out of your control there are always steps you can take to improve your life.

Resist the urge to hurry past this uncomfortable emotion, and ask yourself: What is envy telling me about my life?

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