How to Stop Envying Others


A guest post by Stefanie Flaxman of Revision Fairy

It’s healthy to possess a bit of envy for individuals you admire.

These people do what you want to do—they’ve got what you want.

But if envy doesn’t motivate you to take practical action, it’s a dangerous quality.

Your world becomes a place of what other people have or what other people do in contrast to what you don’t have and what you don’t do.

Practical action involves many tiny steps that often seem inconsequential, but it’s these individual steps that produce a substantial final product.

When you focus on the process, you understand what another person did to get that something that you want. You recognize common ground, and your goal becomes more attainable.

Consider Teenager Tom’s envy of a classmate who works at an ice cream shop. Tom works part-time at his parents’ travel agency, but he’s not interested in travel; he constantly fantasizes about spending his afternoons grazing on mini-spoon samples of frozen goodness.

What choice does Tom have? He can continue glamorizing his classmate’s life, or he can take a step.

The first step is to ask his parents if he could get a new job at the ice cream shop instead of his current gig. Let’s assume the conversation goes well and after a short time, he attains a job at the ice cream shop.

Hooray! (For now.)

Here’s what often happens when we reach a goal. After a few weeks at the ice cream shop, nothing in the world is more boring to Tom than ice cream. He knows every flavor, every topping, every scooping method, etc. He’s the Bubba Gump of ice cream.

His mind starts wandering over to the next best thing.

The ice cream shop has lost its intrigue, and Tom’s envy of his classmate has subsequently faded. The experience served a purpose, but it’s time for Tom to move on.

“Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself—must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you get something that you think you want, sometimes you do wholeheartedly love it. Sometimes it temporarily satisfies a desire, but ultimately it’s not for you at all.

Your original envy may seem a little silly in retrospect. Remember that silliness amongst passive wishing and wanting for something more than what you already have.

Experience the mystery to learn more about it and get your next clue.

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want your children to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

~ Albert Einstein

Assume a limitless attitude regardless of what anyone else says.

You have to cheer yourself on if you want to create a new part of your reality.

Taking action to achieve your goals isn’t necessarily exhausting yourself and discounting the joy already present in your life. Make the right sacrifices.

If you discover that the process isn’t enjoyable, instead of envying the person who committed to that work to achieve that goal, find the work—a true passion—that suits you.

Set your eye on the prize. Adjust the path to that prize accordingly.

There aren’t some people who can do everything that they want to do and some people who can’t. The only difference is that some people do.

What’s the first step you have to take?

Stefanie Flaxman is the founder of Revision Fairy. Follow @RevisionFairy to keep up with Stefanie’s philosophy for writing and editing your life.

About the author

Mary Jaksch

Mary is passionate about helping people create a happy, purposeful, and fulfilling life. She is the founder of GoodlifeZEN and also the brains behind, one of the biggest blogs for writers on the Net. Mary is also a Zen Master, a mother, and a 5th Degree Black Belt.

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