One of the seven deadly sins is envy. Envy is when we desire what someone else has. Today, this is likely one of the single most difficult of the seven deadly sins to avoid. How can we not be envious when from the moment we pick up our phone we are exposed to the wonderful lives of our friends, family, colleagues, peers, and strangers? Their lives look so great. They seem perfect. We often ask, why can’t I have this? We tell ourselves, I could get this if I lose these extra pounds, get that raise, or save for that vacation.
The feeling consumes us. It starts as envy but it evolves into bitterness and negative energy. It eats at you. That negativity can turn into a depressive state of mind. One that causes us to feel uneasy and insecure in our own life. It could lead us down the road to frustration or resentment. Think of all the routes a little envy can take you. It’s pretty dangerous.
How do we avoid it, especially in our social media-consumed era?
First, accept the emotion, and come to terms with it. You are a regular person, and experiencing envy is completely natural.
Second, don’t run from it. Muting someone, unfollowing them, or avoiding social media all together puts a bandaid on the problem, but it doesn’t remove the innate ability to remain envious. Just because you may not see it all the time, doesn’t mean you are cured of your envy. You are masking it.
Third, do your best to flip the script and think positively about the situation. For example, you see that post of someone you just know can’t afford another trip, or you get that text from your gossiping friend saying “do you believe so and so is at it again?” Resist the lazy, negative response, and change it to a positive reply. Think of it as, “good for them, it’s nice they get to go on that trip. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to do something similar.”
Let the person be happy. You may not agree with everything they do, but you don’t get to decide their choices, and you certainly don’t dictate their happiness. People deserve joy. Let them be.