Our self-help columnist Athena Laz is a qualified psychologist and the creator online e-course Own Your Inner Power. She works with women worldwide, helping them to reclaim their ability to feel good. You can see her work here.
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this but I’m super jealous of everyone at the moment. I log onto Instagram on my cell and feel like crap because it always looks like everyone else is having so much fun. My friends are visiting tropical islands and I’m trapped in my cubicle at work. I feel frustrated and upset that they have what I want. I know this makes me a shallow person but I just feel so unhappy when I look at where they are and where I’m at. Please help! Thanks, anonymous.
First off, you’re not shallow. You are simply being honest about how you feel and that is one of the most liberating and empowering things that you can do. When you sit in denial all that you do is disconnect yourself from your innate ability to change things up for the better. Secondly, contemporary researchers have shown that how you use social media is linked to depressive symptoms if you use it as a comparative measure against yourself. So recognising that social media scrolling is impacting your well-being is a great place to start. That said here are four helpful and actionable steps that you can take to move past envy towards feeling good.
Step 1: Delete all of your social media apps off your phone for a week
Take back control and delete your social media apps off your phone for a minimum of one week. If you really need to log on and check what is happening, do so on your PC and set a timer for 5 minutes and then log off the minute the alarm goes off. Most of the time we all fall into the trap of random social media scrolling because it’s just so accessible to do so. When you delete the apps off your phone, it becomes easier to limit mindless scrolling which leads to sadness and envy. Take charge of your life and delete the trigger that is causing you undue stress. You can also take this one step further and unfollow anyone that triggers you feeling less than if you have to be on social media.
Step 2: Your envy is actually pointing you in the direction of your desires
It’s so easy to believe that envy is just this negative but in reality that missing thing in your life is actually a back-handed sign pointing you in the direction of your desires. That feeling of lack is actually helping you to gain clarity on what you actually want to experience in your life. The main issue is that most people get stuck in self-pity when they should be taking action. So what do you desire and can you do anything about getting it? If your answer is ‘yes’, awesome – take steps to get there. If your answer is ‘no’ then work on accepting what you cannot change because that in itself has the power to make you feel lighter.
Step 3: Focus on what feels good
When you fall into a state of envy re-focus your attention onto what brings you joy. It may seem hard at first (especially when you are sitting in your office feeling envious) but start to bring your awareness to what you are really grateful for. Mentally list the things that are working for you. Maybe that’s your health; your current job (even though it may not be your ideal job – it still pays the bills); your relationships or simply your ability to change anything that holds you back. Focus on what is working and then use that as a leaping board to go after what you actually want.
Step 4: Work on loving you
When you are in a state of envy and jealousy you have fallen into believing that you are less than. You can alter this by working on the quality of your self-talk. Begin by noticing how you are actually thinking and talking about yourself. Remember, radical self-acceptance means untangling yourself from external measures of worth and validation. The very things that social media is hinged on. When you cultivate a healthy inner dialogue you move away from placing too much attention on external criticism or praise. You can also listen to my audio course on how to move past envy and jealousy here.