I have fond memories of Halloween both as a child and when my children were little. Getting dressed up and collecting sweets is a kid’s dream come true. This rather quirky holiday also features creepy ghouls and goblins. It made me think about the scary character that lurks in all of us: The Green-Eyed Monster, also known as envy. Upon examination, I believe there is a lot we can learn from this beast when we understand how to interact with it.
I think the main problem with envy is that we are taught it is a bad thing. From the get-go, there is a negative stigma around it. But, we have all experienced this feeling otherwise we wouldn’t know what the word means. I believe envy (within reason) is normal. The question is: how can we put this emotion to good use?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the VERB envy is: “Desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable thing belonging to (someone else).” In the normal realm of envy, you perceive someone as having something that you would like. For instance, a Facebook image can trigger envy. It can cause your brain to jump to all sorts of conclusions about how someone else’s life is better than yours: their experience, body, relationship, career, or perceived greater happiness.
So, what can you learn from The Green-Eyed Monster? If you listen to what it is saying, it may share valuable information about what you are seeking in yourself or your life.
Here are some tips that my coaching clients and I have found useful for befriending the beast.
Notice the Trigger When do you notice the Green-Eyed Monster rear its ugly head? Is it when you meet someone who is rocking their career? Is it an image of someone with a great figure? When I recently watched “A Star is Born” I envied Lady Gaga. When she opens her mouth, beautiful sounds come out. Unfortunately, if I were to sing to a crowd, the room would clear in a nanosecond. When I was raising my children, I remember feeling inferior to working mums. I was living abroad and my husband had a very demanding career. I had an internal battle with how I could work, be a good mom and maintain relationships with family back home. Meeting a woman who was balancing home and career, definitely triggered the beast.
Get Curious What is the monster telling you? What do you feel envious or insecure about? What do you perceive someone else has that you would like? It is important not to focus on material items. Without a doubt, I am envious of Lady Gaga’s talents. I would like just a pinky finger full of her abilities. When I was a stay at home mom, I was jealous of Mom’s that had a calling, identity, and purpose outside of the home. I was in desperate need of personal growth. It is valuable to consciously acknowledge what you envy. With this feedback, you can learn more about what you are seeking.
Put the Monster’s Message to Work for You Once you have listened to what the monster is telling you, use the information to clarify what is important. What goals can you set your sights on that are aspirational and attainable? For instance, I know I will never have Lady Gaga’s career. I can, however, remain committed to artistic outlets that bring me joy (and hopefully don’t clear a room). When I was a stay at home mom, I started training to become a life coach. Envy of working women made me focus on establishing a new career. These are examples of the type of feedback the Monster will provide if you are open to the message.
I believe you can make this fiend your friend. The next time you notice The Green-Eyed Monster rearing its head, why not listen to what it has to say? Perhaps it’s message will spur you into action in an area of your life that you are yearning to grow. And, if you’ve seen “A Star is Born,” take inspiration: “we’re far from the shallow now.” Happy Halloween.
Lisa Harter, ACC, CPCC, is a life coach and writer who specialises in working with moms, because mothers deserve more. Lisa believes mums are VIPs whose well-being is crucial to the health of the family unit. Since 2011, she’s been coaching women to achieve personal and professional fulfilment while they successfully meet the demands of family life. Lisa has lived and worked in the US., U.K., and Middle East. She knows first-hand what it’s like to juggle personal and career pursuits while raising children and maintaining those all-important relationships with family “back home.” To find out how you can work with Lisa, contact her.