Putting your envy to good use

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We all envy things from time to time – someone’s clothes, job, lifestyle or car. It is a natural human emotion that often gives us the drive and ambition to get those things for ourselves. It can be uncomfortable to feel because it often makes us feel inferior to others or somehow like we are less worthy than they are because we don’t have those things. In the sphere of relationship envy you can let go of the discomfort and start putting your envy to good use.

Break it down

When we see relationships that we envy it is usually the overall impression that creates the feeling. It can seem as though there is a soft fuzzy glow surrounding couples who are in love but what is it that gives us the impression that they are happy and makes us envy them? What is it that makes a couple look so appealing to you? Is it the way they touch each other in an affectionate way? Is it the way they communicate with each other in a loving supportive way and genuinely seem to enjoy each other’s company? Or do you envy less demonstrative couples who give off a sense of total commitment and compatibility without being all over each other?

Observing what sort of couples you envy will give you a lot of information about the type of relationship you want for yourself.

What are you thinking?

Envy is a natural and harmless emotion. What makes it damaging and destructive is when it sets of a train of negative thoughts, for example:

That will never happen to me – It’s not fair – They are only together because they are good looking – Only good looking people find love – I am not loveable – I will never find a partner

If these thought patterns are triggered every time you see a happy couple then they will eventually become entrenched and can become beliefs systems. The most common reason people struggle in intimate relationships is because of belief systems that tell them they are not worthy of love. The good news is you can reprogram your thinking – it takes time but it is possible. Next time you see a couple and feel envy try consciously finding things about them that you identify and try to think in a more positive way, like this:

I’m so looking forward to falling in love – I don’t know when it will happen but I know it will – neither of them are perfect but they still found love and so will I – everybody is capable of giving and receiving love – it is nice to see how happy they are together

Making a conscious effort to think like this when you feel envy will gradually change your belief systems and how you feel about yourself making it much more likely that you will find the relationship you deserve.

Comparing your insides with someone else’s outsides

The other reason envy is such an uncomfortable emotion is because we are usually comparing how we feel on the inside – full of worries, insecurities, fears, hopes and dreams, lists of things to do, ongoing dramas and  emotions etc – it can feel pretty messy in there sometimes. When we compare our messy insides with the outside image other people present to us – happy, carefree, peaceful, grown up, competent etc – it is not surprising that we come away feeling down on ourselves and inadequate.

The thing to remember is that even in the most seemingly perfect of situations people still have problems – look what happened with Lady Diana and Prince Charles – they had everything going for them but it didn’t stop their marriage from falling apart or insecurities coming up to plague them. Given this we are not comparing like with like when we compare ourselves with others – like a duck on a pond other people may look serene on the surface but be paddling away like mad underneath. If you were able to see the whole picture – someone’s past, problems, fears and insecurities as well as the moment of happiness you are witnessing you would probably not feel envy but compassion. You would probably be glad that they had found some happiness despite everything that had happened to them.

Use your envy to learn about your personality, what you want for yourself and what you value in others.


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