Updated: Oct 5
Envy, resentment, anger --- they're everywhere we look these days. We have people raging at each other on facebook, shaming those who hold different points of view, angry that there are people with more luck, money, beauty, experience, whatever... than we have. These emotions, when fed, put our mindset in a poverty state -- and not just a financial poverty state -- envy, resentment, and anger keep us from achieving peace and happiness in our relationships, personal growth, health, and sense of well-being too. They ruin pretty much everything.
We can only adjust our own behavior. If you see this in someone else do not feel like you can fix it by arguing.
Envy, resentment, and anger are HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS.
It is easy to get caught up in it if you engage. By all means, engage when the conversation is emotionally balanced. Find someone with a different point of view and have a civil conversation --even if you end up disagreeing it is a healthy interaction and we need more of these. However, if you're reacting to anger or ridicule (i.e. envy and resentment), the conversation will not be edifying. Ignore that bait.
So, how do we know if we have a poverty mentality? These feelings -- envy, resentment, and anger -- are so natural they're like scratching when something itches. It is absolutely possible to create a habit of it without even realizing it.
So -- how do we avoid giving in to envy, anger, and resentment?
First identify them when they creep up in your reactions (be honest with yourself).
Do you get angry at political or religious posts on social media and then respond-delete-respond-delete?
No worries, don't beat yourself up -- just take a breath, walk a way from your phone, think of three things in your life that bring you joy and express gratitude for those things. Repeat that until you feel the agitation ebb away.
Do you feel fear and anxiety and look for information that proves your fears are justified?
Again, be kind to yourself, and take a breath and a beat, express gratitude for three things -- repeat until you feel the anxiety ebb away.
All your fears can come true -- but so can the good things you hope for. Remember that worrying is like praying for things you don't want and that it is suffering for an as yet unrealized event. You suffer far more during the worry than when the event happens and it isn't going to keep any bad thing from happening.
Worry is completely useless as prevention.
Gratitude will kill worry and put you in a state where problem solving is possible.
Now, how about envy and resentment -- do they solve anything? Of course not! I spent my life jealous of skinny women with fast metabolisms. Did that give me a fast metabolism? Um -- no. If anything it made me obsess about the food I don't get to eat and not enjoy the food I did eat. No problems were solved and new problems arose. Envy and resentment are only able to create problems -- never solutions.
Love yourself and your life as it is now and you'll see your way clear to grow in contentment -- plus you'll be way more fun to be around. All of that will lead to a richer life in all categories.
A few books and authors that help guide me to a healthy mindset:
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