Why You Need to Listen to Your Envy

filed under: Creative Inspiration
The minute I saw the email in my inbox my stomach turned to stone. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t swallow, I couldn’t even blink.

Why had I signed up for this newsletter? And it was true: it was only a newsletter, and I had voluntarily signed up for it.

So I could give myself a heart-attack and heartache every time her email landed in my inbox?

So I could just grow numb with envy and bite my nails down to the cuticles every time I saw what this woman’s work?

I knew not. So I proceeded. Hating Myself.

Despite the cold sweat and sharp distaste in my mouth, I found the courage to click open. Or rather, I found that I couldn’t BUT click open… like seeing a video of your ex’s vacations on Facebook and not being able to take your eyes off of it even though your heart is thumping right against to your knees…

I began reading the words on the screen. Voraciously. Taking them in one by one by one, whole lines at a time, not having enough of them, clicking through to read more, and then more, and more, and other articles.

What was I doing? When I finally managed to pull myself away, I felt a nauseating mixture of sickness and delight.

I liked what I had read. Correction. I LOVED what I had read.
Yet it made me sick to my stomach. Who did she think she was?

ENVY.

Pure and raw envy.

At first, I was ashamed of it, disgraced, felt I was a bad person.

Secretly, I knew that that’s why I had signed for the newsletter in the first place: to try and show myself that I was better than that, a bigger person, someone who could applaud another writer for their eloquence and skills without jealousy or envy…

Turns out, I couldn’t.

But here’s the plot twist:

Envy’s Not the Enemy.

We learn to fear envy. To fear all our “negative” emotions. We learn even to label certain emotions as “negative.”

But are they?

Emotions are just that: E-MO-TIONS.
There are no positive or negative ones. No right or wrong ones you should feel at any given moment.

The word “emotion” means, in Latin, “to move outwards.” Emotions move what happens inside of us, in our innermost self, out so we can perceive those occurrences with our senses and conscious self.

But no emotion is “bad.” Each emotion is simply a signal of what happens inside of us. Deep in our soul.

What can be good or bad is our reaction to that emotion and the actions we take because of that emotion.

Ignoring your envy, like I had done, trying to stuff it down somewhere deep inside yourself, buried under tall mounts of hurriedly devoured ice-cream, is definitely a bad reaction.

Listen to your envy.

Invite your envy in like an old friend. Feel it, sit with it, listen to it.

Envy is trying to tell you something.

When I finally broke out of my self-pitying stupor, I got it:

My envy wasn’t the problem. My envy pointed me towards passion.

“This is the sort of writing that moves your soul! These are the sort of topics that strike a chord deep down in here! Your whole being is screaming out that you should strive towards that!” Envy was shouting at me from the depths of my bowels.

Envy isn’t the enemy. Ignoring it is.

Envy is your friend. Envy isn’t trying to hurt you. Your envy’s trying to point you, in a very visceral way, towards the true source of your passion. Envy is simply trying to signal to you what moves you and what fills your soul.

Ignoring your envy out of fear of being a bad person, or out of shame for feeling such a thing towards another colleague or friend or human being, can only be destructive. For you are, in a way, ignoring the cries of your soul.

Don’t fear your envy. Embrace it!

Many people like, love, and admire the newsletter that caused me envy (including myself).

Very few, I’m sure, of those feel the kind of envy I felt for the actual work that goes into it.

Others, I’m sure, envy other things about it—such as its success and popularity, or its large and international audience, things that would never even upset me.

We all want different things. But we often forget or lose sight of what those things are by covering them with the general blanket of “success.” Because ultimately we all want to be successful.

But successful in what? And in what way?

That’s where envy comes in.
Pointing at something another already possesses and that signals success to you (and perhaps only you).

Listen to your envy for it’s a wise and perceptive guide of what goes on inside of you.

What or who do you envy?

Do you dare say it out loud?
And why do you envy that thing or person?
What about it would you like to have and how can you get it?

Let’s dig into your passions!