Learn from Envy
August 18, 2020
Note From Rochelle
Since my book Level Up was released a year ago, many people have written to tell me how much they appreciated the chapter on envy. Today, I’m offering an updated version of that chapter for you.
Learn from Envy
By Rochelle Melander
A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.
– Paulo Coelho
Have you ever opened your favorite social media feed, read that a friend has landed an agent, published a book, or scored a mention by a big blogger—and felt sick with envy?
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, believes that difficult emotions can serve an important purpose:
But negative emotions play a very important role in a happy life, because they warn us that something needs to change. When we envy someone, it’s a sign that that person has something that we wish we had for ourselves. And that’s useful to know.
This quest offers you the opportunity to dig deeply underneath your envy and mine it for signs of desire.
You need your journal and access to your social media feeds to do this quest.
Step One: Identify the Monster
Do you remember recent experiences when you’ve felt the green-eyed monster hit you in the gut? Where were you? What were you doing? Make a list of all of the places you’ve bumped into that monster—social media feeds, networking events, alumni and organization publications and sites, and social events.
For each memory of envy, record the following information:
- The person, event, or news that triggered your feelings of envy. When you see that a friend has published a novel, note what you wish for. Do you want to write a novel? Are you envying his accomplishment or the attention he is receiving?
- How you felt. What does envy feel like for you? What does it stir up? Do you see a friend’s successes and immediately criticize yourself? Do you experience feelings of regret or doubt about yourself? Or do you feel desire for the same type of accomplishment?
Step Two: Search for the Monster
If you can’t recall the last time you felt envy, delve into your social media sites and search for news of your colleagues’ successes. Pay attention to how you feel as you read about your friends, family members, and colleagues—and note when feelings of envy strike. You’ll know you’re feeling envy when what someone else has accomplished leaves you thinking:
- I wish I’d done that.
- I’d love to be doing that.
- How did she get to do that?
Again, each time envy strikes, record:
- The person, event, or news that triggered your feelings of envy.
- How you are feeling.
Step Three: Reflect
Reflect on what you learned. What does the information you’ve gathered tell you about:
- What you’d like your life to look like (where you live, who you connect with, how you move through your days).
- What creative projects you work on or wish you could work on.
- What other desires popped up while you observed the success of others.
Game Play Tips
- If you have difficulty remembering when you felt envy, review old journal entries.
- Take care of yourself. Digging into negative feelings does not feel good. (No kidding!) But it can be a helpful teacher. Take time to comfort and care for yourself after experiencing feelings of regret or doubt.
- Remember that everything you have done and survived has made you who you are. You’ll be able to take the lessons you’ve learned and the crazy experiences you’ve had and write one heck of a book!
For the Win
You’re one step closer to understanding just what you want your creative life to look like and what sorts of projects you’d like to complete. Yeah you!
Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach, experienced publishing strategist, and the author of eleven books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. She supports people in achieving the dream of writing and publishing books that transform lives. She is the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that supports children and teens in finding their voice and sharing their stories.