The Green Eyed Monster
“Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind”
Envy: A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck – Oxford Dictionary
Have you ever felt envy? Most of us will have experienced it at some point during our lives. Envy is an emotion which can be evoked when we perceive that someone, either known to us or not has one or more of the things that we most desire but do not have ourselves. This may be property or possessions, skills or aptitudes, relationships, status, beauty, reputation or even good fortune in general.
Like all emotions, envy is felt in the body. It is not usually regarded to be pleasant. It may present as a combination of sensations in the body. Envy will be felt differently by each of us and will form part of the unconscious thoughts/emotions/behaviours of the cognitive behavioural cycle.
On noticing that another person has everything that we want in life, we may begin to construct negative thoughts about the situation:
Regarding a friend: It’s not fair. Why should she be driving around in that? She gets paid way more than I do for doing a really easy job. She’s not even that bright and Daddy pays for everything anyway! I could do her work standing on my head. She’s so popular too! Why does she get all the opportunities and I’m stuck in this dead-end place being paid a quarter of what I’m worth?
The above are examples of thought. Thoughts are the stories that we tell ourselves. They add meaning to a situation that is not rooted in truth. They also generate emotion. All the above thoughts will generate the unpleasant body sensation that we associate with envy.
In fact, the only truth here is that right now, the subject is driving a nice car. We could choose to admire the car but in this case we have, probably unconsciously, chosen to engage in negative thinking. This is because we perceive that the subjects owning of the car and the success that that suggests, has meaning in our own life.
This actually has nothing to do with our friend’s situation and everything to do with us. The external world here is highlighting within us a sense of lack and need. We are made aware of all the things that we want to and could have – if only we were worthy. The above thoughts are illustrating that we perceive the success of our friend to be an illustration of our own lack of worth.
In most of our teaching, we talk about the two negative core beliefs, common to all of us, that underpin most of our negative thinking:
I am not good enough/worthy
I am not whole/broken
These beliefs are synonymous with fear, and they exist to ensure that we are constantly beating ourselves up and criticising ourselves. This is a survival mechanism within the psyche. We have written many times that we are born with a hard-wired survival instinct which, in childhood manifests as the drive to avoid abandonment. If we must constantly strive for acceptance, approval, and attention (the opposite of abandonment,) then these core beliefs will ensure that we never get complacent.
When we are faced with a situation where we perceive that someone has everything that we have ever wanted without even having had to try – our beliefs about self-worth are brought into our awareness. Why are we not worthy of those things and why does everything that we have only come with maximum effort? The truth is that we do not know what is going on for the other person at all – in fact, as with all our responses, the response of envy only ever points towards what is going on for us.
This is great news!
When we unconsciously choose to accept the invitation to become ‘bothered’ by something – we are being signposted towards something incredibly positive that we can do for ourselves.
Thank you, Universe!
What is envy signposting you towards?
You guessed it – you are being called to work on your Self-worth!
Do you remember the first of the common negative core beliefs that we shared?
I am not good enough/worthy
Let us explore the likelihood of that statement being true:
What qualifies us to be worthy? Who is it that decides what is good enough and who are we striving to be good enough for? Are we really endeavouring to meet the standards of others? If so, given that their idea of good enough will be entirely shaped by their own individual model of the world – their unique set of experiences and DNA – why would those standards be relevant to us anyway?
The truth is that the only thing that matters is what is going on for you. This means that you are the one who is charged with setting the standard.
Let yourself be enough.
The truth is also that the only qualification required to be worthy is that you are here. You are alive and present on the Earth right now, therefore, just like every other person you too are worthy of everything that life can offer!
Appreciate your worth.
Are you aware of how you feel when you are envious?
Where does it express itself in your body?
Can you invoke the feeling of envy within yourself? Can you recognise when it expresses itself within your daily life?
The next time that you find yourself envious of another person press pause:
Take you awareness to your breathing and step into the shoes of your Observer Self.
This is the part of you that is able to witness the body sensations and thoughts without doing the feeling or thinking.
Name the body sensations: churning stomach, tight chest/throat, pricking skin.
Sit in gratitude with them and allow them to be felt.
Silently witness your thoughts: what am I telling myself about this situation?
Discern truth: challenge the narrative, is what I am telling myself really true? What is the real truth in this situation?
Let yourself be signposted.
Make an agreement with yourself to ‘notice’ these sensations and thoughts in future situations as soon as they arise.
Let it be like the ringing of a bell.
Now that you know that you are being signposted towards improving your sense of Self-worth you can choose a conscious response:
One of the most effective ways to improve core beliefs is affirmation.
Trying repeating an affirmation of worth to the Self.
Choose one or more phrases which fit for or resonate with you.
Examples of affirmations might include:
"I am worthy"
"I am perfect and whole"
"I am unique and precious"
"There is a unique space in the world for someone with exactly my talents and aptitudes"
"I am a one time only, never to be repeated miracle"
Please add your own affirmations to this list and choose a couple of go-to phrases for use when the situation demands it.
For further information about affirmation please read the following article:
For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your
human experience see our book: