Do you ever feel envious?
I don’t even know why I ask, because I probably know the answer. I cannot imagine there being a single person that hasn’t felt some sort of envy in their adult lives.
There is no shame in it…envy can be a good thing…let me explain.
There are two types of envy…
Malicious envy – where someone has what you want and you want to smash their bloody faces in because of it. You literally feel like someone is pouring vinegar on paper cuts every time you see them, and you would be quite happy and relieved if they lost whatever it is they have that you wish you had too! (Can you tell, that is my definition and not taken out of a book? )
Benign envy – Where someone has something you wish you had – and you are bloody happy for them because you know how hard they have worked to get it. (My interpretation again!)
I am sure we have all experienced both, I know I certainly have. I remember feeling very much like No1 when I was 14 when I asked a boy out and he said no and then went out with my best friend!!! Hated them both for 10 minutes!!
I often experience Benign Envy, especially in the business world. It can still feel unpleasant, but if you stick with it, there is no better way for me to feel like I have a motivation rocket up my arse!
It sometimes happens when I see someone publish their first book. I have been writing mine for over 2 years and thinking about it for about 5, so when Jackie Hollins has only taken 12 months to write and publish hers, and get it to No1 on Amazon then my eyes start to turn a shade of lime.
I don’t begrudge Jackie one bit.
I know she has worked her arse off, being consistent and persevered when she would rather be watching the new series of Prime Suspect. Instead, I get a bit pissed off with myself, well a lot actually, for procrastinating and not making my book writing a priority.
I was happily not thinking about it, and then, bam, as I am scrolling Instagram, I see her smiling face, holding up her book, thanking all her followers for buying 10 copies each and making it go to the top of the Amazon charts, I momentarily wish all her teeth would fall out, then I catch myself.
After quickly regretting my thoughts about Jackie’s imaginary trip to the dentist, I think fair bloody play, and a big fat well done, at the same time getting pissed off with myself for doing sweet FA about my book. Aside from the first Stage (20K words!) the rest of it is still on post it notes on my son’s wardrobe door…no fucker is going to see it there!!!
And that is not Jackie’s fault!
It is nobody’s fault but mine. Any uncomfortable, unpleasant feelings and emotions I feel towards her and her number one best seller, are simply a reflection of how I feel about myself.
Jackie is innocently holding up a big fat mirror. She has worked tirelessly to get that book published, and I have not. It’s that simple…and do you know what…it doesn’t half smart a little bit!
Now this is where you have a CHOICE!
When I notice these more than unpleasant feelings, I can either…
- Sit there bitching and moaning, trying to come up with all the excuses of why I have not yet done it, and all the reasons why it was easier for Jackie, and come to the conclusion that life just is not fair and I never liked her anyway. (Malicious Envy.)
- I can notice and acknowledge said unpleasant feelings and emotions and do my damndest not to experience them again. The only way I can ensure that becomes a reality…is to write my bloody book!! Jackie has done a brilliant job and I want to do the same. (Benign Envy)
Choosing Number 2 is where my motivation comes from. I feel inspired by their success, (once I know their teeth are secure!) I really do use it as motivation, to avoid feeling like this. To avoid feeling annoyed at myself for lack of action. That book is getting written as we speak!
Now, this may be a crappy example for you, so I would like you to think of a time you have felt this way. If you are struggling let me give you a few prompts…
Fat Janice, next door but who is no longer fat as she lost 2 and a half stone over the Lockdowns.
She worked her arse off, by the way, took up running in all weathers. She was so slow at first but improved over time as she never gave up. She said no to all the cake at the office and stopped drinking.
You did nothing. You put 2 stone on.
Your friend’s son got into the University of his choice and she is delighted.
Sharon got the promotion at work that you secretly wanted but chickened out of going for it because you convinced yourself you didn’t have the right colour lipstick.
Your sister and her family went to Disneyland for 2 weeks.
You endured looking at all her photos on social media from your leaking tent in a farmers field.
Your neighbours got themselves a campervan.
You got yourself a new wheelbarrow.
Your two best mates are loving being part of the local Rock Choir. They invited you to a concert.
You went, even though you didn’t want to as you were reminded that you never had the courage to go to the new members open evening 3 months ago. You convinced yourself you didn’t have time.
Look, I do not want to be making you feel shit, I really don’t. I do want to make you see that you always have a choice.
Life really is short…so PLEASE just do what you truly want to do. If it takes someone else holding a mirror up to you before you finally take action, then that is fine.
Notice those unpleasant feelings…really NOTICE them. Do NOT judge yourself. You are not a bitch…just be aware that you need to ask yourself WHY you are feeling this way. Why did I momentarily want Jackie’s teeth to fall out…because I wanted what she had.
So to get that, I simply have to take action.
Just know that you rarely feel unpleasant feelings, associated with envy, when you are happy with your lot.
I know for sure that WHEN I have finished and published my book, any instagram scrolling I do that unearths yet another person publishing their first book will be like water off a duck’s back…funny that!
Time to take consistent action Sally.
How about you?
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