I had a conversation the other day with a close friend of mine that went something like this: “Joyce*”, I said, “Are you ever envious of other people’s lives?”, I asked. “Sometimes”, she said. “Why do you ask?”. And we had a little chat about how you get carried away sometimes, looking at other people’s lives and thinking: “Ah, why can’t I have her/his life?” We get distracted by the cars they drive, the houses they live in, the jobs they have, the relationships they’re in, the success they’re relishing, the pets they share their lives with, the places they’re traveling, and many other things. The list goes on and on. It is so easy to get blinded by all the things other people have that we wish we had too. And I sure am guilty of this at times as well.
Social Media’s Role in This Whole Thing
On top of maybe being envious of the people around us, social media is also heavily contributing to this phenomenon in this day and age. People usually only display and broadcast the good parts of their lives on these platforms: the vacation they went on, the job they were just offered, the concert they’re attending, the new shiny car they just bought. How many people do you know who will talk about the stressful, challenging, and ugly sides of their lives on social media? The thoughts of self-doubt that they have, the glass they broke this morning because they were in a hurry, the financial hardship that they’re currently facing, the fight they had with their spouse or partner the night before… I think you got the point, but let me break it to you anyway: everyone has their own struggles and hardships. Someone might look like they got it all figured out and are living the dream life, but those people too have their own challenges to deal with and battles to fight. There are always times when things aren’t so great. It’s never all rainbows and unicorns! No matter what it looks like to the outside. That said, I’m not writing this blog post to lecture you on people’s social media behavior, however, I thought it was important to remind you of this critical aspect that people sometimes forget when browsing through their news feeds on Facebook, instagram, or any other social media platform. Keeping this in mind can already help you calm your envy the next time it comes up. But there is another little tool I would like to introduce to you that will help you deal with comparing yourself to other people and feeling envious of them.
One Simple Way to Focus on The Good in Your Life
One of the main reasons we feel envious is because we have started to take our blessings for granted. We believe that our happiness lies in some object we don’t own yet or some intangible milestone we have to reach in the future. So what’s the secret to combatting this feeling and nipping it in the bud: practicing gratitude! When you so to say count your blessings, you immediately feel the joy and abundance of all the good things already present in your life in this moment. And it doesn’t take more than 2 minutes a day!
Here’s how you do it:
- Find a comfortable position to stand, sit, or lie down in.
- Close your eyes.
- Think of ALL the things you are grateful for. From the past, the present, and the future. This can be anything from as simple as the food you have in your fridge, the roof you have over your head, the clothes you are wearing, your education, to your health, your family, your friends, the challenges you were and are currently facing that allowed and will allow you to grow, or the things you will achieve in the future. Literally anything. Even the “bad” things (like the heartbreak you overcame and were able to grow and learn from). Take about 2 minutes to bring all of these things to your attention.
- Open your eyes and continue your day re-energized and full of appreciation for what is already present in your life, because everything you need to be happy is already there.
One of my trainers and mentors calls this a “gratitude shower” and it is supposed to be exactly that. Bathe in all of the goodness in your life. Do this daily and you will soon notice that you start to have a different perspective on life and that you start to be grateful in the moment as marvelous (or even not so marvelous) things are happening in your life right before your eyes. And remember that this is like a muscle that needs to be developed over time. So keep practicing and be patient and kind with yourself. 🙂
I’m going to leave you with this small yet powerful quote:
It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.
What are you grateful for today?
*name changed for purposes of this blog post
About the author:
Frauke is a professional Work Frustration Coach, Life Crafter, and has a Masters in Positive Organizational Psychology. She supports women who are frustrated with their work situation and want to regain control of their lives. As a life crafter, she shows people that they have a choice in creating their future and uses a unique approach incorporating hypnosis and positive psychology tools into traditional coaching techniques. If you’re interested in finding out more and want to sign up for a free Clarity Session, contact her here:Schedule FREE Clarity Session