How to Stop Being Envious of Other People’s Success
A lesson I learned from my kids about how to stop being envious of other people’s success.
As a parent, you must have been in this situation a million times.
One of your kids is playing with his toy, deeply concentrated on what he is doing.
Suddenly, your other kid plunges down and grabs the toy away.
The next thing that happens is obviously a piercing wail, crying, and possibly a violent attempt to redeem the toy.
This prevalent sight is not only annoying to parents but also quite symbolic of our lives as adults too.
To put it simply, we get envious.
We feel envious of others for their success, or for having something we want and don’t have.
And it makes us feel awful!
So awful that some people get downright depressed from flipping through other people’s profiles on social media.
So how can we change that? How can we stop being jealous and envious, and get over that unpleasant feeling?
What I learned from My Kids
What I noticed with my kids is that it’s never really about the toy itself.
If one of my kids surrenders his toy to their demanding sibling, it’s very interesting to see that the fuss about the toy disappears very quickly.
In a matter of minutes, the initial excitement is gone and the toy is forsaken for a new pursuit.
What I understood is, that what my kids are really after is not the toy at all!
They want to feel the same sense of enjoyment that their sibling is experiencing.
They think that if they play with that toy, they will also enjoy themselves.
What we need to do is to show them that they can find a different toy and experience just as much joy.
Consistently teaching your kids to focus on what is available to them to find happiness, will teach them that they CAN live their lives enjoying what they have, and what they are doing.
Their little bouts of envy during childhood can make for good opportunities to talk about their feelings and learn to work with them correctly.
Gradually we can teach them how to choose their goals, not by comparing themselves to others who are different from them and may have different traits and circumstances, but by being all that they can be.
Even as adults we need to constantly aspire to fulfill our greatest potential and reach higher with our goals. By clicking the banner below, you can download a great free workbook I have created to help you with define what your greatest success looks like!
When Our Inner Child Is Envious
Indeed when we adults see that celebrity or someone who is making the money we wish we could make, and it makes us feel bad.
And this is the moment for us to remember that we don’t want to be THEM, we just want to be happy! And we need to get there by being who WE are, because we are just as good and valuable.
We need to remember that we have our own special path and our own challenges to overcome, and no one else’s success can stand in the way of us becoming the best WE can be.
If anything, it can only give us the encouragement and motivation to fulfill ourselves.
And even if we don’t succeed at every turn, there are valuable lessons to learn from every experience.
The Antidote to Envy
Ultimately, we want to teach our kids to share and play together with others.
We want to show them that by cooperating with other kids, and inviting them to play, they avoid the conflict and gain the enjoyment of having play partners.
And it’s the same for us.
The safest way for us adults to find our sense of joy, is together with others, or by giving value to others.
When we succeed in a way that truly helps and nourishes other people, it doesn’t draw the negative form of envy but rather a sense of support and agreement with our cause.
That is the safest form of joy.
So to stop being envious, don’t try to copy anyone else, find out who YOU are, be the best you can be and take joy in contributing to the well-being of others.
With this sort of attitude, you’ll find there is more than enough to go around for everyone to enjoy!
Share your thoughts down in the comments!
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I’ve felt envy towards people who have higher intelligence, better social skills and better inner qualities compared to me. But not towards people who have more money, fame and material possessions because those things don’t really make us happy.
That’s great! This means you value these traits that are more important to you, and I agree…they are the truer source of happiness. Use this envy to propel you forward towards your highest potential!
Envy can become positive when we don’t want the other person to fail, but rather give us the motivation to be the best that WE can be!
Nice analogy about the kid’s toy. We adults are sometimes just big kids.
Thanks, Dave! Yes…it’s true. There is so much to learn about ourselves and how we relate! It’s really what we should be teaching in schools 🙂