I had a smart and successful client use a fabulous phrase with me last week during our Happiness Hacking™ coaching session. We were discussing the downer she had got on at the weekend seeing perfect families out walking with their perfect children, which felt super painful because she is currently single. All totally understandable. It’s like rubbing salt into the wound when you see people effortlessly living that which seems so elusive to you.
It’s often the way, isn’t it? If we are single, all we see are perfect couples walking along hand in hand. Every Cafe is overrun with them. If we are trying to conceive and struggling, then the world seems to be full of women sporting baby bumps at every turn, and every other Facebook photo is of someone else’s child. If our job is less than stellar or our business is struggling then all of a sudden the world seems filled with people making great money doing what they love when we can’t even work out what our passion is, let alone earn a living doing it!
Any of that sound familiar?!
My client said she was suffering from a severe case of “Life Envy”, and I think that’s something that most of us can relate to.
Here’s what you a) need to know about Life envy, and b) need to do about it.
1. Life Envy can be POSITIVE. It can be an awesome force for good in that it can help you identify what you want in your life. That clarity is great. Once the goal is set, however, its purpose is done. You don’t need the Life Envy anymore; you just need to get busy making that goal a happening thing rather than dwell on what you don’t have.
2. While you’re envious of that person’s life or let’s be very clear, WHAT YOU IMAGINE THAT PERSON’S LIFE TO BE (which might be a whole different thing), there are people out there that are envious of YOU! Maybe you have a beautiful home. Or a fantastic ass. Or hell, maybe you got a straight 8-hours sleep last night. If you can focus on the GOOD STUFF you already have going in your life, then the Life Envy will drop away. Look at YOUR OWN LIFE and figure out what might inspire some Life Envy in others and give thanks for that shizzle right now.
3. One of my favourite poems of all time is “Desiderata” written in 1927 by American writer Max Ehrmann. One of its most beautiful lines is:
you may become vain or bitter, for always
there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
Ain’t that the truth? There will always be people to whom you come off better in your perception, and some worse. Once you have a goal identified it really is best to drop the Life Envy. Who wants to be vain or bitter, right? It’s a game you can never really win.
4. Perspective Shifter. Next time a bit of Life Envy pops up – which is ALWAYS about a perceived LACK in our own life – have a think about what a Syrian Refugee would think of your life. Would they swap in a heartbeat? For sure. What about some of the poorer countries you have visited, what would the waitress in Fiji who brought you your long island iced tea think of all that you DO have? Feel the perceived lack start to recede.
5. Then get busy turning the energy of Life Envy around. Turn it into a positive energy in your own life. How? By instead of seeing every example of the LACK in your life demonstrated by the couple/baby/job/size 10 jeans/beachfront bach/whatever you have your heart set on – see it as EVIDENCE of the ABUNDANCE of the thing that you want, and BLESS IT.
Yep, we are talking a 360-degree turnaround in energy here. APPLAUD people for having the thing you want because it shows it’s possible. CELEBRATE them having that fantastic thing because you know how precious or important or glorious it is, and take it as evidence of its achievability. Bless them. Congratulate them. Applaud them. (In your own head doll, not out loud, you don’t have to look like a nutter.) Start saying “that’s so wonderful, what a happy looking family”. Or “she is blooming, good for you sweetie, I hope you are feeling well and getting lots of rest”. Or “I am so happy for you enjoying that fabulous bach, enjoy every moment of summer fun, just shows anything is possible”. “Go you, getting out running, you look amazing!”
Can you see what a massive energy shift that is? To come from a place of praise, celebration and abundance rather than envy and lack? It feels SO much better, and can almost be like a little mental game to play with yourself. If you watch closely, you might find that “Life Envy” has become your default setting in your brain.
If you can routinely take other people’s circumstances as EVIDENCE OF THE ABUNDANCE OF THOSE POSSIBILITIES: (“Couples everywhere! That’s such a great thing to see, it shows that there’s someone for everyone!), rather than as evidence of lack, then you are well on your way to creating the space to attract exactly what your heart desires into your life. The more you celebrate what is going on with others, the more you will have to celebrate in your own life.
Works like a charm every time.