The Link Between Envy and Stress

Competition is a part of life, but when it boils over to envy it can have a detrimental effect on our effectiveness and our health. Learn to curb envy and put that energy to better use.

When a friend of ours gets admitted to a better school, or gets a better job, or a beautiful girlfriend, what is the response we feel? Envy is unfortunately a prevailing emotion. But what do we get out of jealous feelings? Why do we envy people? What’s wrong with just being oneself, content with one’s own achievements?

Our Envy Has Deep-Seated Roots

Often, we can see that the mind is constantly caught in a trap of saying “I need this today; I need to become that tomorrow”. This is a subliminal process, and it’s not something people do willingly. Due to this, we often see people constantly striving to compete with others on even petty things.

The main reason we all do this is dissatisfaction with ourselves, not being able to accept ourselves as we are. We constantly evaluate our accomplishments against someone whom we believe is living that Ideal life. In reality, is this true? Have we watched our role model close enough to ensure that they are happy and that they are living life on their own terms? We can come to a great realization that they too aren’t always happy. They have a life of their own and they too struggle to make ends meet, with their own problems like any normal person.

When we face this truth, we can feel a sense of great relief, a deep sense of peace. Peace that is so intense and fulfilling! Only when we stop the involuntary habits of comparison, competition and envy can contentment come into our lives.

Accepting Ourselves

The great sense of satisfaction we can get from accepting ourselves as we are is second to none. We are able to take things at our own pace when we accept ourselves. We stop living our lives in an automatic fashion and take time to think. We think what we really need and how much we really need to work to achieve it.

We see people doing things they hate in the name of goals, ambition and life. To reach where and to achieve what? After all, one fine day, we will die. No matter how hard we try to avoid that, we will meet our end, and this is inevitable. That being the case, what’s wrong with taking life less seriously? In enjoying whatever little we have? In being able to appreciate whatever we have in life?

Growth for Our Sake, Not for Growth’s Sake

Relaxing in life doesn’t mean we get lazy and complacent! Controlled growth is necessary. Discretionary growth, the ability to put a full stop at things that bother us and the power to say NO at things that we do not want should be the ideal. This ensures that the growth we achieve in life is for our own sake and not for the benefit of someone else; not to please a passerby or to look more successful in their eyes. Instead, we achieve a growth that is substantial and everlasting.

This content is inspired by the article ‘4 Steps to Self-Actualization and Becoming the Best Version of You’ by R. Kay Green, first published at

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