Is the Stress You’re Feeling Actually Envy?

Envy is an unconscious defense mechanism against a threat to our self-esteem. Kristin Neff, PhD, co-author of The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook

Since, according to Dr. Neff, envy is unconscious, it can be difficult to detect. Envy frequently masquerades as stress, sadness, anger, jealousy, or resentment. 

Envy is different from jealously which typically involves a fear that someone will take something from us. Envy is coveting something that belongs to someone else. Social media is a fertile breeding ground for envy which, if left unchecked, can be a destructive force. 

Here are a few tips to help you keep envy from stealing your joy.

—Name the feeling. Unmask envy and call it what it is. When you can name it you can tame it. Dig under the masquerading feelings to see if envy is hiding there.

—Stop comparing. Whether you’re feeling bad about yourself, or good about yourself at someone else’s expense, you need to learn that your worthiness comes from being you. 

—Envy comes from the desire to be loved. Learn to show compassion to yourself. Delight in who you are and what you’ve accomplished rather than what remains to be done.

Affirmation: I will love myself out of envy.

Coaching questions: What causes you to feel envious? What will you do to move away from a mentality of scarcity into one of abundance and rejoice with the joys of others knowing that joy is possible for you too? 

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