Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Envy is considered a negative quality. It can be accompanied by thoughts of wishing someone would fall down or make you not like the person, even if it’s a friend or family member. It can also trigger negative “compliments” such as, “You lost so much weight. I hate you!” I’ve heard women say that kind of thing many times when they don’t feel good about themselves. I used to be one of them

When I was a DoorMat. I envied everyone around me who seemed happy or who had qualities I wanted. I  hated so much about me back then that I envied everyone who had a slim body, the silky straight hair I wished for, a cute adoring boyfriend, an exciting job, and most of all, people who seemed happy in their own skins. Envy  was a regular emotion for me, making me bitter about not having or being what I wanted.

In the guest post by Todd Patkin, Handling the Green-Eyed Monster—Envy, he speaks about how negative envy can be. And in most cases that’s true. But as I got more comfortable being me, I learned another aspect of it. For a while I fought the tendency to go to a place of envy when I saw someone with something I wanted. That’s a natural response for most of us who feel envy isn’t good. But instead of giving me negative feelings, I’ve learned how to use those feelings of envy for my benefit.

Feeling envy triggers desire. When I find myself envying something, I think about how I can get it for myself. Instead of triggering anger and frustration, feelings of envy now motivate me. For example, for a while I’d get negative feelings when I’d get mailings from a writer I know with her schedule of speaking engagements and other activities. I wanted what she had! Then it hit me. I’d never tried to do what she does. Now I’m making more of an effort to do the kinds of things she does instead of feeling almost resentment that she has what I want. After all, if I didn’t try, of course I wouldn’t have it.

Now when I get her emails, I bless her for having those opportunities and affirm that I’ll have my own.

I’ve recognized that someone else having what I want takes nothing away from me. I have wonderful qualities that the other person doesn’t have. Look for your own! I still don’t have silky straight hair but have found ways to work with my own. I’m still not as slender as I’d like to be but I’ve worked out and appreciate how fit my body is. There will always be someone with something you don’t have that you’d like. Accept that and find your own good qualities and blessings. Appreciating what you do have is a great antidote to envy and can make you feel good.

There are plenty of opportunities for all of you that look for them. Envy teaches you what you might want that you hadn’t thought about. Part of the motivation aspect is that knowing someone else got what you want means it’s possible. I never thought of doing some of the things my writer friend is doing. Now I feel like I have more things to pursue for me. You don’t need to waste your energy envying what someone else has. Next time envy hits you, ask yourself what you can do to get it for yourself.

Affirm, “She/He did it and I can too!” If your friend lost weight, you can too! If your colleague got a job you’d love to have, you can find one too! Then look for ways to accomplish what you want. Stop feeling green with envy and find the right color for your life.

Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2012 HERE.

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