Most people will tell you that envy is bad. They will say you should be happy with what you have. But don’t believe them. Envy is one of the most powerfully positive forces on Earth. Envy reveals what we truly enjoy, what we really want, and who we want to be like. This is nothing to feel bad about. Baby, you were born this way.
Using envy for good starts with recognizing it as a powerful, natural, innate draw within you. Don’t try to quiet that voice. Tune in to it. Understand it. Learn what envy can teach you. Envy is like a gravitational force pulling you towards your own happiness. Or at least towards a great pair of pants.
Definition (from the great online dictionary)
Envy (noun): a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.
Envy (verb): desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to someone else.
Interview Your Envy
Envy offers insights to feelings that are hard to articulate.
- Do you envy the person who doesn’t have to travel for work? Or the person who does?
- Do you envy your friend who has dinner with his or her family every night?
- Do you envy the entrepreneur? Or the volunteer? Or the activist?
- Do you envy the rich and famous?
- Do you envy the simple and anonymous?
Your envy is trying to lead you on your true path. Don’t protest too much.
I have found myself attracted to, and envious of all kinds of random things throughout my life. But instead of feeling bad about it, or trying to turn the feelings off, I have tuned in, and recognized the things I truly want to have, do or be. And those things I once envied have contributed greatly to my own happiness.
Here is a quick list or random things I have envied:
- A pair of well-worn work boots
- High schoolers who could lift a lot of weights
- People who have canoes.
- People who vacation on islands
- Mountain climbers
- People who don’t follow popular opinion
- People who have great blogs
These things that I once envied have now contributed greatly to my own happiness. My feelings were not negative. They were motivating.
Today, my work boots (and my flip-flops) are my favorite shoes to wear. I began lifting weights my freshman year in high school and have found it to be the absolute best thing for my mental health. I launched my own business, The Weaponry, almost two years ago, and I am eager to get to work each day. I own a beautiful 17-foot canoe, and a couple of kayaks, which bring me and my family great joy. I have had wonderful vacations on islands with my wife and kids, where we felt as if we had escaped the real world together. I’ve climbed many a mountain, and felt the rewards of accomplishment. I am confident in my unpopular ways. I’m working on the blog thing. But I still have a nagging feeling that I don’t volunteer enough, and envy those who do.
Don’t feel bad about your lust for those shoes, that job or the epic vacation. Don’t think you don’t measure up because you haven’t started your own business, created a charitable foundation or bought a second home. If you really want those things, add them to your list. Then create a plan to make them yours, and get to work. That’s what I do. And someday I expect to have them all.
Now that I have shared, is there something you have envied that you have used as motivation? Please share it in the comments section. I’d like to think I am not the only one.