You have experienced this. Everyone has. That tiny moment where you make a face to that person that you feel is “doing too much.” The “yimu” face as Nigerians like to call it. It may be friends, even siblings. It may be someone on Instagram. You may not even know it’s envy. Because you may not even think you want what the person has.
The other day, I caught myself making that face to a former classmate who just had her second baby and went live showing us how to win at the corporate level. Was it envy?
I rolled my eyes but then I caught myself. Why did I do that? It’s not like I want to climb any corporate ladder. I’m more of a freelance, creative slash business person. And I definitely do not want 2 kids on my hip and leg at the age of 25.
So why did I feel the need to act like I did. Like she was threatening to me. Or like she was doing too much and rubbing her successes in my face?
Sometimes we find ourselves thinking that way towards people. And if it isn’t checked, can degenerate into jealousy, envy and full blown irritation and hatred.
This envy may sometimes be unfounded, like the one I just explained. There’s no real reason for it. You don’t desire the exact thing the person wants. Maybe you are just envious about the pace of their lives. The fact that they have a lot going for them. The fact that they dare even show off to the world those things that they have. You may not want it. But because they have it, it irks you.
It may also be that, you actually want exactly what the person has. You may be colleagues or partners or people in the same field. As a creative in the world of social media, I have my fair share of people that I am “envious of. ”
There’s always someone doing more than you are. Or someone executing the same idea you have. Or worse, someone doing the same things you’re doing at the same pace you’re doing them, ( heck, you may even be better) but for some reason, their efforts are better received than yours.
In any of these cases, it’s easy to slip deeper and deeper into this envy which may result either in imposter syndrome, where you don’t want to do anything because you keep comparing yourself and thinking that you most definitely aren’t good enough to do the same thing as that person. Or reach the same heights.
It could even worse lead to you comparing yourself and trying so much to be that person. Nobody loves a copycat. So, that never ends well.
A few things I like to do to give myself a mental check when I start to feel this way, one is to remind myself that people are on different tracks and different timelines. Because I’m not exactly where someone else is doesn’t mean I’m failing. Also, comparing your timeline to others is just quicksand. You’ll keep sinking.
I also like to rewrite my goals and intentions. The reason why I’m doing what I’m doing in the first place motivates me to keep going. Look at your goal as linear. No need looking at others.
If you have to look at others, let it be to learn from them. There’s always something to take from someone. Something to learn. Let that be the only reason why you put your nose in someone’s business. To learn from them.
Lastly, if something disturbs my mental health, I cut it off. If it means to distance yourself from that person, give yourself time off all the pressures of social media, etc.
Oh, finally, as my Nigerian friends say, if you have tried everything to stop being envious and you still are, hit yourself on the chest and whisper, I’m not a witch, God delivers me from envy. Haha! You can choose to ignore this last bit though.