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          Controlling Envy

          December 22, 2003

          Envy can be a hidden emotion, kept under a smile so others don’t see it. But on the inside, it can be exhausting. Dr. Phil has advice if you are consumed with envy of everyone around you and feelings that nothing is ever good enough. Ask yourself the hard questions:
          • What is it doing to you on the inside? Is it working for you?
          • How much fun are you to live with? How do you think if feels for your loved ones if you are always unsatisfied with your life?
          • What do you want that you don’t have? Is it just a bigger house, a better car, more money? How much is enough? Is it just a material possession that you want or is it a feeling of never being good enough?
          • Are you a bottomless pit? If your spouse got up every day and reassured you and built you up and told you everything would be OK, would you still feel the same way at the end of the day as when you started?
          • What should have happened in your life that didn’t? What is your definition of success?
          • Are you so busy feeling sorry for yourself and whining about what you don’t have, that you haven’t asked yourself what is missing? If you don’t know what you want, how do you know you don’t have it?
          • How much time do you spend asking yourself how you can use your skills, abilities and God-given gifts to create a life that is satisfying? How much time do you spend lamenting what you don’t have and how you feel put upon?
          • Do you realize you can control what is in your mind, your heart and in your actions to change this perceptual imbalance?
          Steps to take to overcome envy:
          • You own this. You have to recognize that this is all about you. The good news is you can control this.
          • Deconstruct these feelings. The first thing you need to do is require more of yourself. Quit worrying about what your sister has, what your neighbors have, what cars your friends drive. Instead, get up every single day and focus on the things that you are thankful for. Focus on the gifts that you’ve been given. Focus on the talents you have, the people in your life, the opportunities that are before you. Spend enough time thinking about it every day, so that it outweighs the amount of time you spend thinking about the negatives.
          • You may be creating a problem out of perception. Do you really have problems? If you’re healthy, if your children are healthy, if you’re not dealing with a horrible situation that really is a problem, take notice. Dr. Phil’s father used to tell him, “Pay attention, because every once in a while God just taps you on the head to get your attention, and if you don’t catch it the first time, He might thump ya. And if you don’t catch that, then He might just slap you on the top of your head.” The point being: You don’t want anything to happen in your life that provides a contrast that gives you a wake-up call.
          • You thought your way into this, now think your way out of it. You choose your thoughts, you think the thoughts that you choose, and that is how you got these feelings of envy. The choices you’ve made have gotten you into this situation, so make new choices. Change your thoughts, change the values that you’re embracing and the beliefs that you’re holding near and dear. A magic wand is not going to fix this. Make some different thought patterns that will really begin to challenge what you’ve been telling yourself.
          Three assignments to change the way you look at the world in one week:
          • Every day for one week, write down 100 blessings in your life. Do not repeat one blessing.
          • Find every member of your family in one week, on the phone or in person, and tell them three things that you’re thankful for about having them in your life. You don’t have to tell them it’s an assignment; just weave it into the conversation if you prefer.
          • At least once this same week, go to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen and volunteer for eight hours. Then sit down and write about your experience there.

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