Social media (combined with the human tendency to compare our lives with others) means that unfortunately, a lot of us regularly experience feelings of envy, resentment, and even shame. Why does that fitness guru you follow on Instagram get to have such an amazing physique, and how come your neighbor has such a perfect home?
Feeling inferior or jealous doesn’t make you a bad person, but learning to reframe these emotions can make you a lot happier and even help you get closer to what you want. Here are some steps to turn envy into admiration:
The first step is to really just become aware of your emotions. Even though it’s not comfortable, practice acknowledging when you are feeling particularly envious or vulnerable. Ask yourself what this emotion may be signifying. For example, I once worked with a client who was very envious of a friend who was a great social planner and organizer. I encouraged her to get curious about this experience.
Although envy is not an emotion that you want to get stuck in, it can teach us a lot about our inner selves and what we value. My client realized that the reason for her jealousy was that she was lonely and wished she was as outgoing and social as her friend was. She realized that this was something she valued and wanted to prioritize in her own life.
When you view snapshots of someone’s life that makes you feel envious, turn that feeling into inspiration by seeking out help and guidance from that person. If, for example, you really notice how into fitness and exercise your friend is, consider sending a message, a text, or even talking in real life to get ideas. People who are doing things that you like can be the best mentors!
The last step is when we become truly empowered: after working to shift our internal experiences from envy to admiration, we can take action to get what we want. If you are inspired by someone’s career and want to see similar success in your own life, work to make it happen! Overall, envy is disempowering, but by working to foster the emotion of admiration instead, you can create lasting positive change in your own life.