Ep #336: Envy
When you see someone achieve the success you want to have, how does it make you feel?
For many, seeing others get what they want triggers the feeling of envy. They often either want to complain about that person or even see them suffer.
While envy is a common emotion that comes up, it isn’t the only option. And it’s definitely not the best option if you strive to achieve success in your life. Feeling jealousy toward other people can put a strain on the relationship, especially when we feel this way about a friend or loved one.
If we can stay out of envy, we can stay in inspiration and abundant happiness in life. And this is where we see examples of what’s possible in others and allow them to motivate and fuel our desire and ambition.
In today’s show, I share how to deal with envy by becoming aware of your feelings and how to channel it into inspiration to create goodness and abundance in the world. Join me to find out how to spend less time feeling bad about other people’s success, and more time feeling good about yours.
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What You will discover
- How to deal with envy.
- The difference between envy and inspiration.
- How to tell if you’re experiencing envy.
- Two things you need to do when you feel envious.
- Why diminishing others also diminishes yourself.
- How to channel your feelings of envy into feeling inspired and motivated.
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- Learn more about the Self Coaching Scholars program.
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode number 336.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Well hello, my friends. How are you? I’m doing so well. I have spent the summer hiking the mountains of Colorado. I, as you all know, love a trail. And there are endless, beautiful trails to hike. And I keep seeing bears and cubs and I have my bear spray and I have my bear bell. But I’m still a little nervous when I hike.
But I’m just enjoying it so much. It’s just been such a peaceful, beautiful, wonderful summer for me, to be able to be here in Colorado, hiking these trails in this most gorgeous weather.
So, I’m going to – I’m laughing because I know, if you live in Texas, you’re envious of my weather because I’ve talked to you all, so that’s a great way for me to lead into this podcast on envy.
I wanted to talk about envy today because I think it’s important that we talk about this emotion before we take action on it. I’ve had people take action at me out of envy and later apologize for it. And this has happened actually quite recently, where somebody apologized to me for doing something to try and hurt me because they were envious.
And I think it’s important that we take the time to evaluate our own selves and our own emotional lives to see if we’re feeling at all envious about anyone in our life, and if we’re taking action on that, or if we’re processing that and using it in a way that can serve us.
So, I want to talk to you about how to use this emotion; how to acknowledge it, pay attention to it, be aware of it, and then also use it as a signal to transmute it into something else.
The way that I want you to think about envy is different maybe than a definition that you would find on the internet. So, envy is the feeling you get when somebody else has something that you don’t have and you want them not to have it.
This is different than seeing something that someone else has and you wanting it and you wanting to go get it. Do you see the difference?
In one situation, I see that you have something, and I believe and want to have that thing for myself. That is inspiration. That is desire. That created more abundance in the world. When I look at you and I see that you’ve done something that I want to do or you have something that I want to have, I’ve now created desire within me, motivation within me to get that too. That creates contribution. That creates goodness. That creates more for everyone. That is not envy.
Envy is, “You have it, and I want to take it away so nobody has it. I want to break it up. I want to destroy it, or you, so you don’t have this thing that I want, you don’t have more than me, you don’t have something that I don’t have.”
So, that definition is really important for you to understand because I think, sometimes, those can get confused. And you think that you’re being inspired by someone, but really, you’re envious of them.
So, the way that you know that it’s envy is if you delight in their suffering, you delight in someone hurting them, you get excited when something bad happens to them because it means that they have less, or if it gets taken away from them. They don’t deserve it, so as soon as we take it away from them, then we feel better because now they don’t have more. So, it’s almost like the diminishing feels good.
Now, this is a real thing. This is a compulsion. It’s a pathetic compulsion that many of us have. And what it is, is this sense of justice, almost, when we take away from someone and then we don’t feel bad about not having it. We almost feel like something right has happened in the world, in the diminishing of that other person.
And this can be through a myriad of ways. I mean, this could be something you cause personally to hurt them, or something that just happens to hurt them. It’s almost like you delight in them not winning.
And you have to be careful, when you’re evaluating your own emotional life, to see if you’re participating in this, if you’re ever delighting in someone else’s failure or in someone else’s misfortune because it makes you feel better because that gap is closed down.
So, I’m going to give you a bunch of examples, but let’s just say that someone has more money than you. They’ve been more successful in their business. They’ve made more money than you. And they tell you that they’ve made this money.
And in some ways, you feel inadequate. You feel bummed out. You feel bad about yourself because of the money that they’ve made and it’s hard for you to be happy for them, it’s hard for you to be excited for the, because all you’re thinking about is you not having that money that they have, you not having that success that they have.
And so, your brain will start wanting to solve for that discomfort. And one of the ways that it might present to you is, “How can we hurt this person? How can we make this person have less? Is there a way to bring them back down to my level so I don’t feel inadequate, so I don’t feel bad, so I don’t feel envious, so I don’t feel less than?”
Now, if your brain does this, it’s no reason to be upset with yourself. There’s no reason to think there’s something wrong with you, that you can’t be happy for someone else’s success. This is something that the brain automatically does, it creates envy.
But one of the things that you have to be super-careful of is acting on the emotion of envy, because you may be tempted to attack that person. You may be tempted to hurt them. You may be tempted to do something to them to make them be less fortunate, to have less fortune, if that is within your power. And you may even do it passively-aggressively if you aren’t aware of it. And you can see this happen when people get very successful. It’s almost like the desire to pull them down becomes compulsive.
The alternative is to look at someone that has something that you don’t have, something that you want that you don’t have, and turn it into inspiration, to be inspired by that. Now, what’s beautiful about that option, that opportunity, is that we’ve now increased desire and motivation and abundance in the world.
I see that your success has made it possible for me to believe in my success. I can see what you’ve done in terms of creating money or creating love or creating possibility in your life. And I can use that as leverage. I can use it as inspiration. I can use it to create desire and motivation within me so we can double-down on the success, double-down on the money, double-down on everything that you have.
So, instead of bringing you down to my level so everybody has less, I’m going to bring myself up to your level so everyone has more. And the compound effect of that will be that other people will see me and be inspired, and then they will want to double-down and have more.
If we stay out of envy, we create desire and motivation and inspiration. When we get into envy, we start pulling other people down. There’s an example of this that is often talked about in terms of competitiveness where they talk about how, when they put all the crabs in a boiling pot of water, if one of the crabs starts to make its way out, the other crabs will pull it back down.
And it’s almost like this compulsiveness to not let someone else win because it feels like it’s at our expense. And instead of letting one crab get out, maybe that crab can reach back over and help you out, right? It’s, “Hey, listen, you can’t be free if I can’t be free. You can’t be successful if I can’t be successful. You can’t have more unless I can have an equal amount of more. So, I will then pull you back down.”
I’ve seen this with relationships. I’ve coached a lot of people on relationships and breakups. And I see this happen where a couple will break up and then one person in the couple will start dating again. And the person that I’m coaching becomes obsessed with breaking that relationship up, with hurting that relationship, with causing harm to that relationship. Instead of looking at their former partner and saying, “Wow, they’ve found someone else. They’re happy. Maybe I can do that too. Maybe I can go find someone else and be happy too. Maybe I can move on as well.”
Instead of doing that, there’s this compulsion to stalk them on Facebook and try and get ahold of the new person and tell them and warn them and talk to them about not being with this person because there’s so much envy associated with it.
And if you think about the amount of energy that would go into trying to hurt another person, trying to break up another person, trying to sabotage them, trying to bring misfortune to them, that energy could be used instead to create fortune for yourself, to create your own success, to create your own desire, your own love, your own inspiration. Instead, it is misdirected.
You will know when you’re feeling envious because you will feel this negative emotion about someone else’s accomplishment, success, or good fortune. And it will feel off to you.
You’ll be like, “Oh, great, I’m so happy for you…” I’ve had people do this to me. I had a friend of mine do this to me. She’s like, “Oh, well that’s just great.” And I know that she didn’t mean to say it like that, but she heard it as she said it, and I heard it. we both kind of laughed about it. She’s like, “Okay, I guess I’m feeling bad about myself not having that same opportunity, not having that same success.”
And so, when you feel that way, there’s two things to do. There’s two steps when you start feeling this way. The first thing to do is to remind yourself that life is 50-50 for all humans. So, this human that you’re looking at that you think has a better life because they have the boyfriend, the house, the car, the babies, the money, the good looks, who knows, they’re younger than you.
Whatever it is that you feel envious about, remember, their life is 50-50 just like yours. As soon as you remember that their life is 50-50, you can take a breath and know that we’re all humans, we’re all in this together, and we’re all going to struggle, and we’re all going to win, and there’s going to be a balance. And that, for me, and for many of my clients, calms the envy down immediately.
The second thing you want to do is transform the envy into inspiration. So, ask yourself, if I had the same thing that this person has, would I be happy for them? If I were in abundance and believed that I could have this thing as well, and not only could I have it, but because they have it, there’s more of a chance that I could have something similar, would I be excited? Would I be happy for them? Would I feel abundant?
And if the answer is yes, then you simply need to go about the thought work to believe in that for yourself as well, to be inspired by other people’s abundance, to understand that abundance can compound itself. It doesn’t need to be stripped away. It doesn’t need to be vilified. You aren’t a victim here, by someone else’s success.
Success can beget success, can inspire more success, as is so evident by so many groups of people that have show how this works. We’ve even seen at The Life Coach School, as soon as one person makes a million dollars, the next year, 10 people make a million dollars. It’s like compounding.
It’s not even like, “So, it took one person a year. The next year, we’ll have two people.” It’s exponential because of the inspiration.
Now, if you use that person’s success against yourself and diminish yourself and make rude comments about them or try to badmouth them or diminish them in some way, you don’t have the energy, that momentum created by that group energy. You miss out on it. But if you celebrate it and are excited by someone else’s success and excited by someone else’s winning, then you can generate that emotion for yourself as well.
Sometimes, we look at other people, we tell ourselves that we can’t do something that they’ve done, that we don’t have that opportunity, that we can’t do it.
Like, for example, we may look at Beyoncé or Jennifer Lopez and we may say, “I’ll never be able to sing like they do, or perform like they do. So, therefore, I’m going to disparage them. I’m going to be upset at them. I’m going to be mad at them because I can’t have that same life.”
And although you may not be able to sing like they do or you may not be able to perform like they do, what is it that you can do? Where is your biggest opportunity right now and how do you flow your energy into your opportunity instead of against theirs.
Instead of using them against yourself, how can you say, “They went after theirs and got it. I can too. They had many obstacles. They had many things working against them and they overcame them and got to the level that they’re at. What are my obstacles? What do I have to overcome and how can I use their journey as an inspiration for my own?”
Now we’re talking. You don’t even have to be the first one to go. You can look around you. There are so many examples of people overcoming their own obstacles, being inspired by other people, never looking back, not feeling sorry for themselves, not using other people’s success as a reason why they can’t succeed, but in fact the opposite; using other people’s success as a reason to succeed.
Using other people’s accomplishments to feel envious will literally eat you from the inside out. It will zap you of your energy, your creative energy that you could be using to create. So, when you look at that person, what can you learn? What can you see? What do you have in common with them? How can you relate to them?
Maybe you can’t relate to them being able to sing as beautifully as they do, but maybe you can relate to what it’s like to be a woman, to be a fighter, to be someone who doesn’t give up, to be someone who takes risks and puts themselves out there and advocates for themselves, who’s willing to fail and get back up and do it again. Maybe that’s what you can be inspired by. Instead of feeling mad and envious, you can feel inspired and grateful.
So, the two steps are, first of all, become aware that you’re feeling envious. Know that you’re begrudging someone else’s success and using it against yourself. And then, remind yourself that life is 50-50. It doesn’t matter who it is in the world, their life is 50-50. It doesn’t matter how rich they are. It doesn’t matter how famous they are. It doesn’t matter how beautiful they are. It doesn’t matter how successful they are. 50-50, the balance of the world, of being a human.
And the second thing is transmute that envy into inspiration. Find what they’ve done that is igniting that envy in you. That is the desire. That is something that you want, instead of trying to take it away from them or wish they didn’t have it, give it to yourself.
Cognitively, mentally practice believing that it’s possible for you, that you can have that thing. And maybe it’s not the exact same thing, but it’s your opportunity, your potential, your desire that you can funnel into that.
If you sit around feeling envious and feeling like a victim and complaining about other people and what they have and trying to find fault in them, you will diminish them in your mind, but you will also diminish yourself.
And even though you may have this compulsive need to attack and hurt them, and even though you may do that and that would feel good temporarily to you, it doesn’t build anything. It doesn’t contribute anything. It doesn’t make anything. It certainly doesn’t improve your life for the long run.
So, ignore the temptation to sit around and complain and hurt other people and attack other people. And start focusing on what you want to create, what you want your legacy to be, what potential you want to reach.
Take a look at your life and see what it is you’re envious about and how much effort you’re putting into getting that, taking all that energy and reallocating it to pursuing the thing that you most want, to pursuing the thing that you don’t yet have that you really do want.
Trying to pull other people down into your despair doesn’t serve anyone. Believing in abundance, believing that someone else’s success only makes it more possible for you, not less possible for you is the answer to envy.
Envy can be the signa. It’s pointing you in the direction of something you don’t yet have that you want. Be thankful for that person for pointing that out to you, and then get to work and go get yours.
The possibility for your life is so much bigger. Envy can help you see that, actually. Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t decide that you can’t have something. Always believe that it’s possible. And then put your heart and soul and energy into getting and creating and contributing and creating value so you can be the one to look back and be envious of your own accomplishment.
Be jealous of your own self, be so proud of what you’ve accomplished. Don’t spend your time feeling bad about other people’s success. Spend your time feeling good about your own.
Have a beautiful week, everyone. I’ll talk to you soon.
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