Have you ever found yourself looking at one of the rising stars in your field and thinking:
What’s so special about them?
My work’s at least as good as theirs!
Why are they getting all the attention?
It’s not a nice feeling is it?
No wonder Envy is one of the seven deadly sins – imagine the misery of living your life in this state…
But Envy is also an opportunity. If you respond to it the right way, it’s a gift.
Because Envy is telling you what you want!
Why does it show up as Envy? Sometimes it’s because you’re working flat out to create the future you want, and you haven’t made it happen yet.
But if you find yourself being surprised by Envy, it’s probably a sign of suppressed desire and ambition. It’s telling you you’ve lost your way a little, and you’re settling for second best in some area of your life.
This kind of envy is that suppressed or forgotten desire raising its head again and looking at someone else and telling you ‘Look! That’s what you want! Wouldn’t it be great to be the one doing that?’
I was surprised by envy a few years ago. I was in the audience at a poetry reading and found myself envious of the poets on stage. And hyper-critical of their poems and delivery. I could do better than that, was the thought that went through my mind.
Then I asked myself ‘So why aren’t you doing it?’
At that moment, I realised I had been sidelining my own poetry. I had plenty of excuses, of course – I was too busy, I had other things on my plate, I’d get to it someday.
But when I looked at it honestly, I realised I could make room for poetry, if I gave up other things. And behind all the busyness and excuses, I realised there was a big fear lurking:
What if I couldn’t do better than that?
Well, there was only one way to find out… it was time to start writing again, in earnest.
Next time you find yourself envying someone else, even if it’s a nasty surprise, take a deep breath and congratulate yourself. You just unearthed a big desire. Maybe a big ambition. And now you have the opportunity to make it happen.
What do they have that I want for myself?
What are they doing that I would like to be doing?
How did they get there?
What can I start doing today that will set me on the path I want to follow?
You can hear an audio version of this article on this episode of The 21st Century Creative podcast, starting at 4’05”.
Photo credit: Gabriel S. Delgado C.